RALEIGH, N.C. – In a battle between head coaches, both of which served as assistants at Louisville together, the UMKC men’s basketball (3-8) suffered the 88-69 setback to its first and only Atlantic Coast Conference opponent NC State (8-2) on Saturday afternoon in the Roos first Saturday contest of the season.
UMKC tested a new starting lineup, as Marvin Nesbitt Jr. (Chicago, Ill.) got the starting call for the first time in his career and Brandon McKissic (Ferguson, Mo.) found his way back to the starting five after coming off the bench for the last three games.
It was an offensive battle early on with tremendous speed on both ends of the court by the two programs. UMKC trailed by one point at the first media break, as McKissic had four early points for the Roos, while Aleer Leek (Juba, South Sudan) and Broderick Robinson (Grand Junction, Colo.) each had a bucket.
NC State tacked on five points coming out of the timeout, before a steal by Xavier Bishop (Springfield, Ill.), and a layup at the other end, brought the Roos back to life. Five Roos had points on the board at the midway point, while UMKC was shooting 53.8% from the field as a team in the early going.
Leek drained his sixth 3-pointer of the season to end a scoring drought by the Roos to pull back within five points of the Wolfpack. NC State hit back-to-back jumpers to take a double-digit lead, before Leek powered up under the basket to bring the Wolfpack lead back down to single digits.
A 17-2 run by NC State helped the Wolfpack jump out to a 20-point lead over UMKC, while holding the Roos without a point for over three minutes. A layup by Bishop broke the six-minute scoring drought by the Roos heading into the locker room, as UMKC trailed 47-24 after the first 20 minutes of action.
Robinson drilled a 3-pointer coming out of the locker room to help kick start UMKC’s offense. Head coach Kareem Richardson was quick to call a timeout after Jordan Giles (Tuscaloosa, Ala.) hit a trey on a pass from Marco Smith (Kansas City, Kan.). Back-to-back baskets by Bishop and Smith helped UMKC continue to chip away at NC State’s lead.
A pair of free throws by Giles brought the Roos within 16 points of the Wolfpack. Bishop converted his second steal of the game to an assist on a layup by Nesbitt Jr. on the other end to put pressure on NC State’s defense.
Smith hit a jumper for a career-high eight points to continue to cut away at the Wolfpack lead, but NC State responded on the other end before Leek hit a put-back jumper to match a career-high 15 points. The Roos continued to fight until the final buzzer, but NC State escaped with the 88-69 victory over UMKC.
As a team, UMKC forced 15 NC State turnovers while scoring 14 points off of the Wolfpack misfortunes. The Roos bench contributed 21 points led by Smith, who finished with a career-high 12 points and three steals. Leek led the way in the scoring column for UMKC, while Nesbitt Jr. and Isaiah Ross (Davenport, Iowa) grabbed a team-high five rebounds apiece.
UMKC will close its three-game road trip at Incarnate Word on Dec. 16 at 3 p.m. CT before returning to Municipal Auditorium in downtown Kansas City for a matchup with Central Michigan as a part of Kansas City Day on Dec. 19.
– UMKC –