ESTERO, Fla. – It was a back-and-forth battle between the UMKC men’s basketball team (2-4) and Georgia Southern Eagles (5-0) on Tuesday evening on the second day of the Gulf Coast Showcase. In a contest that was tied 15 times, the undefeated Eagles edged the Roos, 78-75, to send UMKC to Wednesday’s third-place game.
A jumper by Jordan Giles (Tuscaloosa, Ala.), and a 3-pointer by Broderick Robinson (Grand Junction, Colo.), kick started UMKC’s offense to start the game. Georgia Southern responded with a 6-0 run, before back-to-back long distance baskets from Isaiah Ross (Davenport, Iowa) crushed the Eagles momentum.
With less than five minutes remaining in the half, Georgia Southern went on a 9-0 run to take its largest lead of the game – seven points – before Robert Knar (Mundelein, Ill.) found Tony Jackson (Montgomery, Ala.) wide open in the corner, who drilled a 3-pointer to end UMKC’s scoring drought. Newcomer Marvin Nesbitt Jr. (Chicago, Ill.) hit a pair of free throws with 14 seconds remaining in the half, but a three ball by the Eagles gave them the 40-38 lead going into the locker room.
At the break, eight Roos had points on the board for UMKC – including a team-high six from Ross, Giles and Aleer Leek (Juba, South Sudan). Robinson and Leek combined for eight of UMKC’s 14 rebounds. As a team, UMKC held Georgia Southern to just 30.0 percent from behind the arc while connecting on 6-of-13 (46.2 percent) from long range, led by the pair from Ross.
Less than a minute into the second half, Ross banged home his third 3-pointer from long distance on an assist from Giles to open scoring for the Roos. The back-and-forth battle continued between the two teams, as the lead would change 28 times throughout the 40 minutes of action.
Approaching the under-eight media timeout, Georgia Southern’s Tookie Brown converted a three-point play to give the Eagles a 61-60 lead. Knar knocked down a pair at the charity stripe, going a perfect 2-for-2 at the line for the game.
At the other end of the court, the Eagles knocked down a long ball, before Knar found Brandon McKissic (Ferguson, Mo.) calling for the ball in the corner, who drained his lone 3-point basket of the game.
Ross tallied his fourth 3-point basket of the game to put UMKC back out in front with just under four minutes to play. A jumper by the Eagles knotted the game at 73-all.
With 19.7 seconds, Georgia Southern’s Brown went 1-2 from the line to help the Eagles to a three-point lead. A drive to the basket by Ross brought UMKC back within one, but a pair of free throws from the Eagles helped them take the game from the Roos, 78-75.
Ross finished the night with a season-high 16 points on 6-for-13 shooting from the field and 4-for-8 shooting from behind the arc to lead the team. Robinson and Leek also notched double figures for UMKC, while Leek led the team with a season-high six rebounds. As a team, the Roos shot 42.9 percent from both the field and from 3-point range, while shooting 75.0 percent from the free throw line.
The Roos will conclude the Gulf Coast Showcase on Wednesday at 4 p.m. CT in the third-place game against Penn. It will be the first meeting between the Roos and the Quakers.
– UMKC –