EDINBURG, Texas – The UMKC men’s basketball team (10-19, 5-7) notched its fourth straight victory and its first Western Athletic Conference road win of the season on Thursday night when it took down UT Rio Grande Valley (14-15, 5-7), 83-59, at the UTRGV Fieldhouse.
In the contest, the Roos jumped out to an early 11-3 lead with McKissic scoring the first eight for the Roos.
Robinson followed with the Roos’ next six points and, after a basket from McKissic and a three from Isaiah Roos, UMKC stretched the lead to 19-5.
Four minutes later the lead sat at 13, but the Roos went on a 13-0 run with five different players scoring during the stretch, including a layup and three from Aleer Leek that bookended the rally and pushed the margin to a first half-high 28.
The Vaqueros would answer with eight of the final 11 points of the half, but UMKC still held a 42-19 edge entering the break.
Coming out of halftime, UTRGV trimmed the lead down to 17 with 13:59 remaining, but that would be as close as the Vaqueros would get the rest of the way as Marco Smith pushed the lead back over 20 with back-to-back layups.
The Roos would go on to stretch the lead to as many as 30 at 80-50 on another Smith layup with 3:47 remaining before coming away with the 83-59 victory.
Smith was the third Roo in double figures, finishing with 21 points, three rebounds, two steals and an assist, while Xavier Bishop ended the game with 11 points, five assists and three rebounds and Jordan Giles tallied 10 points, three rebounds and two steals.
As a team, UMKC shot 91.7 percent (11-12) from the free throw line and outrebounded the Vaqueros 43-35. Defensively, UMKC forced 18 UTRGV turnovers and limited them to just 30.8 percent shooting from the field and 28.6 percent from three-point range.
The 24-point margin is the squad’s largest over a Division I opponent this season and the largest margin of victory over a WAC opponent since beating Seattle U 102-72 on Feb. 11, 2017 and the largest road WAC win since an 82-53 win at Chicago State on Mar. 5, 2016.
The Blue & Gold will be back in action again on Saturday when they head to Las Cruces, N.M., for a contest with New Mexico State at the Pan American Center at 8 p.m. CT.
– UMKC –