Kansas City, Mo. – UMKC hoops (8-17, 3-7 WAC) snagged its second straight victory, this time over second place Utah Valley (17-8, 6-3 WAC) on Saturday night at home, hitting 13 threes on the way to a 77-70 final margin.
Both teams started hot from the floor, playing at a frantic pace on offense. Sophomore Jordan Giles was the catalyst for the Roos, scoring 9 of the first 11 points in less than five minutes. The teams switched the lead throughout the first 10 minutes, with both shooting better than 55 percent from the floor. Utah Valley had the largest lead at five points with 11:54 on the clock, but UMKC had the contest tied at 21 less than two minutes later on a jumper by sophomore Isaiah Ross.
UMKC took control from there, keeping the Wolverines out of transition for the most part the rest of the half. It helped that UMKC was on fire from three-point land, hitting 8-of-16 for the period. Ross hit four of those threes and helped the Roos take a 30-29 lead at the 3:35 mark. UMKC would close the half on a 13-2 run, including that trey for a 40-31 halftime advantage.
It was only the eighth time all season that the Wolverines trailed at the half, and coming in they were 1-6 in those contests, while UMKC posted a 5-2 mark when leading at the break. The Roos shot 54 percent and had an 8-to-5 assist to turnover ratio, while Utah Valley hit 47 percent and had a 19-11 rebound edge. Ross tallied 14 points, while Giles had 13 in the period. UVU was led by Akolda Manyang with 14 points and 6 boards.
Utah Valley came out swinging in the second period, and used a 8-0 run to cut the margin down to 45-41, but UMKC hit back, and expanded that lead to 12 on a Broderick Robinson layup with 13:18 to play. It got to as many as 14 before UVU could put a stop to the rally.
The Wolverines had another run in them, and it came with less than eight minutes to play, hitting a three to make it a six point deficit, and taking it to as little as 66-61 with 5:56 to play. Giles answered with a huge bucket in the lane on the next possession with the shot clock running low, stopping the rally.
UVU had a chance to cut it to five, but missed a fast break layup with just under 4 minutes to play. The Roos made them pay for it too, with Brandon McKissic drilling a three on the other end to make it 71-61.
The Wolverines got it down to as little as six, but the Roos hit their free throws down the stretch to seal their second straight victory.
Robinson tallied his second double-double of the season, pulling down a career-best 11 rebounds to go with 17 points. Giles led all scorers with 23 points, while Ross finished with 14. Robinson and Giles each played 35 minutes in the outing.
For the night, UMKC shot 52 percent, and hit 13-28 from three. Manyang led the Wolverines with 22 points and nine rebounds, while as a team they shot 47 percent. The biggest issue for UVU was on the charity stripe, hitting only 5-of-15 attempts, while the Roos nailed 10-of-12.
UMKC will finish the home stand on Thursday the 15th, facing Chicago State for senior night.