KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The UMKC (10-18, 5-8 WAC) men’s basketball team will celebrate Senior Day Saturday by hosting UT Rio Grande Valley (17-14, 8-6 WAC) at Swinney Center at 6 p.m. CST. Senior forward Aleer Leek will play his last regular-season home game.
- Senior Tribute - Aleer Leek has been a mainstay for the Roos ranking No. 4 in games played (116) and has been in the starting line-up 50 times. He will also end his Roo career in the top 10 in career blocked shots. Leek grew up in Juba, South Sudan and has three older brothers that played Division I basketball. Nicknamed ‘Leeky’, he arrived to UMKC from Victory Rock Prep School in Bradenton, Fla. Aleer will always be remembered for his perseverance, team-first mentality, and tough spirit.
- Up Next - The Roos play their final regular-season game on Saturday, March 9 at Chicago State. Tip-off from the Jones Convocation Center is 2 p.m. CST.
1,000-point milestone - With 15 points in the loss to New Mexico State on Feb. 28th, junior guard Xavier Bishop became the 12th Roo to establish 1,000 career points as he now has 1,005. He passed Spencer Johnson (2007-11) on the UMKC list. Bishop looks to move past Lavell Boyd (2015-17), who had 1,065 points.
- Conference Race - In the eight-team Western Athletic Conference standings, UMKC is sixth, while UT Rio Grande Valley is in fourth place and holds a 3.0-game lead over the Roos. New Mexico State wrapped up the top-seed in the conference tournament for the second-consecutive year and fourth time in five years. The league qualifies all eight teams for the WAC Championship. California Baptist is a first-year WAC member and is not eligible for the WAC Championship.
- WAC Championship - There are two games remaining in the regular season before the WAC Championship at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, March 14-16. All eight teams qualify in the single-elimination event with four games scheduled on March 14. If the season ended today, the Roos would be the No. 6 seed and play the No. 3 seed -- either Utah Valley or Grand Canyon -- at 8:30 p.m. PST on March 14.
- Last time out - Junior guard Xavier Bishop posted his 1,000th career point, but UMKC men’s basketball dropped a 75-55 game against visiting and league-leader New Mexico State (25-4, 13-1 WAC) Feb. 28 at Swinney Center. Bishop became the 12th Roo in the history of men’s basketball to compile 1,000 career points. The junior guard from Springfield, Ill., notched the milestone point at the 7:09 mark of the second half on a runner in the lane. He ended his night with 15 points, which now puts his career total at 1,005. The visiting Aggies utilized their length and depth to own the rebounding battle. Entering the game ranked seventh in the NCAA in rebounding margin and No. 20 in offensive rebounds per game, New Mexico State owned a commanding +17 edge and tallied 13 offensive rebounds.
- A win against UT Rio Grande Valley means... improve to 9-4 in home games, including a 6-2 mark at Swinney Center... head to 9-5 in games played on Saturday this year... improve to 14-13 all-time in the series with UTRGV... stand with a 11-19 overall record, which would exceed last year’s season total of 10 wins... move to 6-9 in the WAC and surpass the conference win total of last year (5-9).
- Series History with UT Rio Grande Valley - The overall series is tied at 13-13 after a UTRGV win in early February. Recently, the Roos have enjoyed success going 5-2 against UTRGV in the last seven meetings, including a 3-1 mark at home. The victor has claimed a 10-plus point win in four of the last five meetings.
- Previous meeting with UT Rio Grande Valley - The UMKC men’s basketball team couldn’t make a three-point halftime lead hold and tripped up at UT Rio Grande Valley, 75-63, Feb. 2 to finish up the first half of league play. The contest was a battle for fifth-place in the nine-team WAC standings and the Vaqueros were clutch in the second half, out-scoring the Roos 45-30 in the final 20 minutes. All nine UMKC players scored, led by Brandon McKissic’s 13 points and Danny Dixon with 10. Single free throws by Brandon McKissic and Danny Dixon had the lone UMKC points during a back-breaking 13-2 Vaquero run that put the game away for UTRGV and at that point the Vaqueros led 64-49.
- Scouting the Opponent - UT Rio Grand Valley, who holds the No. 4 seed in the conference with an 8-6 mark, has the most overall program wins (17) since the 2007-08 squad tallied 18. Led by Javon Levi’s 93 total steals, the Vaqueros rank third in the NCAA in total steals with 301. Levi is one of two NCAA players this year averaging at least 5.0 assists (5.5), 2.5 steals (3.0) and 2.0 turnovers or less per game (1.9). Terry Winn III leads the club in scoring (12.2), while Lesley Varner III chips in 11.0 points and a team-high 5.4 rebounds.