(Uncasville, Conn.) - The Kansas City men's basketball team got a complete effort on defense Sunday, knocking off 2012 NCAA Tournament participant Norfolk State by a 63-57 margin in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off at the Mohegan Sun Arena.
The 'Roos (2-2) took the lead for good with 4:53 to play on a three-pointer from junior forward Kirk Korver, and held off the Spartans (2-3) down the stretch thanks to some clutch free throws from him and sophomore guard Estan Tyler. The 'Roos pushed their lead to as many as seven with 28 seconds left to grab the win.
The opening period started off as the Trinity Hall show, with the junior forward scoring the game's first seven points, capped by a baseline drive and dunk at the 17:44 mark. Kansas City pushed its lead to 10-1 to start the game, with NSU not hitting a field goal until 16 minutes were on the clock.
The Spartans used a 12-1 rally mid-way through the half to take their first lead of the game though, getting after the 'Roos on the offensive glass. The advantage was 18-14 with 8:26 left, but UMKC battled right back. A three from UMKC senior Thomas Staton gave the 'Roos a 21-18 lead, but a Brandon Goode lay-in off an offensive board a couple minutes later gave it back to the Spartans with 3:57 remaining.
The 'Roos scored the next two buckets though, and took a 26-25 lead into the locker room. NSU pulled down 12 offensive boards in the period, and out-scored the 'Roos 8-0 in second-chance points. The Kangaroos held the Spartans to only 30 percent shooting though, and shot 42 percent themselves along with 9-of-12 from the stripe. Hall led UMKC with seven points.
Kansas City fixed that issue in the second period, holding Norfolk State to only 11 boards overall, and three offensive rebounds, while pulling down 15 for itself. The 'Roos also shot 52 percent in the final stanza, and went 12-of-17 from the line.
Norfolk tied the game at 34 with 15:50 to play, but the 'Roos answered quickly a 10-0 run, getting threes from both Staton and Tyler to get their biggest lead of the night with 13:37 to play. That lead was short-lived though, as NSU scored the game's next 12 points, capped by a Goode dunk with 7:45 on the clock to get the two-point advantage.
Again the 'Roos answered though, getting threes from both Korver and Staton on successive possessions to go up 50-46 with 6:31 left. The final lead change of the night came after the Spartans tied it at 50, when Korver hit another three at the 4:53 mark.
Kansas City was 7-of-9 in the final minute from the line to seal the win. Four players finished in double figures, with the team being led for the second day in a row by Tyler with 15 points. Staton came off the bench for 14 points, while Korver had 10 and Hall finished with 11. Fred Chatmon and Hall each had five boards to lead UMKC, while Chatmon had three steals.
Kansas City shot 47.4 percent in the game, while holding the Spartans to 37.7 percent. Goode led NSU with 12 points, while Rob Johnson had 11. Leading scorer Pendarvis Williams was held to only seven points.
The 'Roos will hit the road again this Friday for a contest at No. 4 Ohio State at 5:00 p.m. CT in Columbus. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.