(Manhattan, Kan.) - The Kansas City men's basketball team played its closest ever game against a top-25 team on Saturday night versus the No. 25 Kansas State Wildcats, but eventually fell 52-44.
The 'Roos (4-9) previous closest game against a top-25 team was 15 points at No. 24 Kansas on November 16, 2008. The contest was also the third against a top-25 program this season, marking the first time in school history the 'Roos have faced that many.
The game looked like it could get out of hand in the early going as Kansas State (10-2) jumped out to a 12-3 lead by the 15:47 mark, but the 'Roos got a three from junior forward Kirk Korver on the next possession to keep it under control.
The Wildcats pushed their lead to as many as 11 with 10:57 on the clock, but Kansas City answered with a 7-1 over the next four minutes to make it a five-point lead. The offense was tough going for both teams over the final six minutes of the half, with each team making only two field goals. UMKC got to within two at 23-21 on a Thomas Staton three with 1:22 left, but K-State's Thomas Gipson put down a dunk with 49 seconds left, taking the Wildcats into the locker room up four.
Kansas City controlled the glass in the opening period (21-16 rebound edge) thanks to 10 boards from Fred Chatmon, but committed 14 turnovers that led to 12 KSU points. Both teams shot poorly, with UMKC hitting 34.8 percent, and K-State shooting only 31 percent. Wildcat senior Rodney McGruder was the game's leading scorer with 10 at the break.
The second stanza was much of the same for offense, but both teams had two players sitting out due to injury. Kansas City was missing both Trinity Hall and Nelson Kirksey, while KSU was missing Angel Rodriguez and Martavious Irving.
The 'Roos stayed within striking distance in the early going of the half, with the score hovering between four and seven points until the midway point of the period. Kansas City held K-State scoreless from the 13 minute mark until 8:51 was on the clock, and it got to within two during the stand. That was as close as the 'Roos would get though.
Kansas State pushed its lead to nine by the 2:19 mark, and Kansas City could only get as close as six the rest of the way.
The difference in the half proved to be in the rebound department, as KSU flipped its performance to take a 24-15 advantage on the glass. UMKC took care of the ball much better though, making only five turnovers in the final half. For the game, Kansas City hit 32 percent, while KSU shot 33.3 percent.
Chatmon finished the night with a monster game on the glass, tallying a career-best 16 rebounds to go with nine points, while Staton was the only player in double-figure scoring at 13. McGruder led K-State with 17 points, while Gipson had 13. Nino Williams had 13 rebounds for the Wildcats.
Kansas City will face Omaha on Monday at 5:00 p.m. on the road, kicking conference play back up for a three-game stretch.