CHICAGO – The UMKC men’s basketball team (11-20, 6-10 WAC) ended the regular season on a high note with a 76-61 victory at Chicago State (3-27, 0-16 WAC) this afternoon from the Jones Convocation Center in Western Athletic Conference (WAC) action. The victory was the first of the year for the Roos on the road in league play (1-7 record).
Jordan Giles tied a season-high with a team best 17 points in just 18 minutes off the bench. He shot 8 of 10 from the field and chipped in nine rebounds and two steals. Xavier Bishop finished with his 25th output of 10-plus points with 16 on the afternoon. Rob Whitfield added 13 points as he nailed a trio of 3-pointers.
“We did an excellent job of taking away their three's, which was a huge key to our success today,” UMKC Head Coach Kareem Richardson said. “Jordan Giles played his best offensive game of the year. He carried us late in the second half.”
The Roos never trailed in the first half gaining a 24-8 advantage with 10 minutes remaining. Jamel Allen hit back-to-back triples to push the visitors into a comfortable lead. UMKC led 33-23 at the half thanks to eight points from the hand of Whitfield.
From that point forward, the Cougars came roaring back in the first 10 minutes of the second half. Rob Shaw's bucket at the 9:26 mark handed Chicago State a 48-47 edge, which was the first and only lead of the game for the Cougars.
A traditional three-point play from Bishop ignited the Roos in the game-decisive stretch. His effort started a 15-2 run over the next four-plus minutes and at that point, UMKC was up 62-50.
Chicago State trimmed the deficit to seven points, but could not stop the second-half scoring of Giles and Bishop. Both players combined for 27 second-half points.
Bishop led the club in assists (six) and was 7 of 9 from the foul line. Besides Giles' 17 points off the bench, Danny Dixon (five), Allen (nine) and Brandon Suggs (six) all were key to scoring contributions leading to a 37-10 advantage in bench scoring for the Roos.
Anthony Harris put up 15 points to lead Chicago State. Cameron Bowles contributed 13, Patrick Szpir 11 and Shaw 10.
- UMKC will await its seeding and pairing for the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) tournament from March 14-16 in Las Vegas. The information should be released by the WAC offices late Saturday night.
- The Roos forced 18 turnovers, three more than they committed. Now, UMKC has had the same or fewer turnovers in 24-of-31 games on the year.
- UMKC shot 43 percent overall, while Chicago State went 40 percent for the game.
- UMKC improves to 36-13 in the all-time series with the Cougars, including a 16-7 mark on the road.
- The 11 overall wins and six in the conference surpasses the amounts from last year's 10-22 season record.