(Kansas City, Mo.) – Texas-Pan American used a huge first half to roll past Kansas City on Thursday night at Municipal Auditorium, coasting to a 78-66 win in WAC men’s basketball play. The Broncs led by 21 just 1:12 into the second half, and the ‘Roos could get no closer than 10 the rest of the way.
Kansas City (5-11, 2-2 WAC) had its worst shooting half of the season in the opening period, hitting only 5-of-26 from the floor for 19.2 percent. Meanwhile, the Broncs (5-14, 1-3 WAC) hit 57.1 percent of their shots and out-rebounded the ‘Roos 23-16. By the 3:39 mark, the Broncs had an 11 point lead, and it wouldn’t let Kansas City get it down to single digits the rest of the night.
They also outscored UMKC 26-4 in the paint and had a 14-5 advantage in points off turnovers. The only thing Kansas City did well was shoot free throws, hitting 15-of-20. UTPA used all of that to go into the break with a 42-27 lead. Shaquille Hines led the Broncs with 12 first-period points, while UMKC was paced by Nelson Kirksey with seven.
“We thought play in the paint would be a big emphasis tonight, and obviously they did a much better job of executing in there,” UMKC Head Coach Kareem Richardson said. “I wasn’t happy with our body language tonight when we got down, we have to stay focused and overcome that.”
For the game, UTPA out-scored UMKC 44-22 in the paint, and as a result shot 58 percent from the field. The Broncs scored 60 of their 78 points inside the paint and at the free throw line. Kansas City’s offense started the contest 5-for-28 from the field.
The final 12 minutes of the game was much better for the ‘Roos offensively, but they still struggled to get stops on defense, preventing them from going on a significant run.
The margin got to as many as 22 with 12:11 on the clock, and Kansas City whittled it down to 10 with just 18 seconds left. The Broncs were never really in danger of the losing the lead, and snapped a 10-game losing streak with the victory, while picking up their first ever WAC win.
The ‘Roos top scorers, Martez Harrison and Kirksey, started the game 2-of-23 from the floor, and finished 6-of-27 on the night. Senior Fred Chatmon overcame a slow start to post his second consecutive double-double (a career first), with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Harrison finished the night with 17 points, while Kirksey had 13 and Trinity Hall put up 10.
UTPA was paced by Shaquille Hines with 21 points, while Shaquille Boga had 18.
The ‘Roos will battle defending WAC Tournament champion New Mexico State on Saturday night to close out the home stand at 7:05 p.m. The Aggies dropped their first WAC game of the year to Chicago State on Thursday night.