EDINBURG, Texas – The UMKC men’s basketball team (8-15, 3-5 WAC) couldn’t make a three-point halftime lead hold and tripped up at UT Rio Grande Valley (12-12, 4-4), 75-63, Saturday night to finish up the first half of Western Athletic Conference (WAC) action. The contest was a battle for fifth-place in the nine-team WAC standings and the Vaqueros were clutch in the second half, out-scoring the Roos 45-30 in the final 20 minutes.
UMKC led by as many as five points, with the final time being at 38-33 after a Xavier Bishop 3-pointer at the 17:51 mark in the second half. UTRGV would chip away at the deficit and eventually took the lead for good. Jordan Jackson and Tyson Smith swished back-to-back triples to put the hosts up 42-40 with about 15 minutes remaining.
The Roos stayed within four points during a five-minute stretch, but then the offense went ice cold. Single free throws by Brandon McKissic and Danny Dixon had the lone UMKC points during a back-breaking 13-2 Vaquero run that put the game away for UTRGV.
Trailing by 15 points (64-49) after that run, UMKC never shrunk the deficit fewer than 12 the rest of the way.
“Trying to win on the road is difficult enough and having 19 turnovers does not help at all,” said UMKC head coach Kareem Richardson
The Roos took a 33-30 lead into the locker-room in a see-saw first-half battle. A McKissic lay-up put the visitors up five, before a pair of free throws by UTRGV’s Javon Levi brought the score to 33-30. There were a total of 10 lead changes and seven ties in the first half.
UMKC, a team that shoots the ball well from the arc at over 36 percent, struggled from long range. As a club, the Roos went 6 for 22 (.273), and just 2 of 8 in the second half.
Jordan Jackson led all scorers with 22 points on 6 of 8 shooting and a perfect 8 of 8 from the foul line. UTRGV’s Greg Bowie II added 15 points in the winning effort for the Vaqueros.
Dixon grabbed a team-high seven rebounds for the Roos. Rob Whitfield, who made just 1 of 12 shot attempts, made his presence felt in other statistical areas posting five assists, four rebounds, two steals and one block.
- The Roos close out a three-game road swing at California Baptist on Saturday, Feb. 9 at 9 p.m. CST. The first meeting between the teams saw UMKC earn an 84-68 win.
- UMKC got 25 bench points on the night.
- Brandon McKissic finished with his 15th double-digit point output of the year, which is second behind the 20 by Xavier Bishop.
- With a +7-rebouding edge tonight, the Roos snap an eight-game streak of having fewer rebounds than their opponent.
- With six points tonight, Bishop moves into 14th on the Roo career scoring list with 929 points.
- Senior Aleer Leek plays in his 110th career game, which ranks him ninth (tie) all-time in UMKC history.
- UTRGV moves to 13-12 in the overall series. The Vaqueros win for just the second time in the last seven overall meetings.