KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The UMKC men’s basketball team (0-5) will look to pick up its first win of the season when it welcomes in Drake (2-1) to Municipal Auditorium for the home opener on Nov. 21 at 6 p.m. CT.
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About the Roos
The Roos return four starters from last year’s squad in senior Aleer Leek, juniors Xavier Bishop and Jordan Giles and sophomore Brandon McKissic, while Broderick Robinson is the lone departing starter. UMKC will also welcome back Marco Smith, Marvin Nesbitt Jr., Steve Dulley and Tony Jackson from last season’s team. Redshirts Danny Dixon, Kaleb Roy and Brandon Suggs will each see their first action in the Blue & Gold, as will incoming juniors Rob Whitfield and Jamel Allen.
Early on this season, Bishop tops the Roos at 15.8 points, while McKissic is at 13.0 and Whitfield is at 11.2. On the glass, Allen (5.0) and Dixon (5.2) lead the squad.
Drake enters the contest with a 2-1 record overall after picking up wins over Buena Vista and Texas State, while falling at Colorado. Drake is under the guidance of first-year head coach Darian DeVries. DeVries took the reins of the Drake program after spending 20 seasons on the staff of former Missouri Valley Conference foe Creighton. Nick Norton has led the team in scoring in two out of three outings this season with 16.7 points per game while shooting 10-of-16 from three-point range.
Last Time Out
UMKC men’s basketball dropped the second and final game of the 2K Classic Benefitting Wounded Warrior Project, losing to host team Eastern Washington University, 87-80 in overtime, on Saturday night. For the second-straight outing, junior guard Xavier Bishop was impressive going for a career-high 28 points on 8-of-13 shooting. He finished with five rebounds, five assists and a career-tying three steals before fouling out in the overtime period.
The Roos are 2-0 against the Bulldogs all-time as a DI opponent, picking up the first win in 2015 with a 79-73 victory on Nov. 21 in Des Moines. In the last meeting between the two squads, the Roos won 68-62 on Nov. 15, 2016 in Municipal Auditorium.
Rob Whitfield enters the contest as the Roos third leading scorer at 11.2 points per contest. After joining the Blue & Gold out of Hutchinson CC, the first year Roo has topped double figures three times, including back-to-back career-high’s of 15 and 19 points against Morehead State and Eastern Washington.
In 2017-18, the Roos finished 10-22 overall and 5-9 in WAC play. On the season, UMKC picked up nonconference DI wins over UT Martin, Manhattan and USC Upstate, while the WAC wins came at home to CSU Bakersfield, Seattle U, Utah Valley and Chicago State and a road victory over UTRGV.
The Roos were picked to finish seventh in the WAC Preseason poll by both the coaches and the media, while New Mexico State and Grand Canyon were chosen first and second in both polls.
Xavier Bishop was named to the Preseason All-WAC Second Team by both the conference’s head coaches and the media. Last season, Bishop started 28 games for the Roos, leading the team at 11.6 points and 3.3 assists, while adding 2.9 rebounds and nearly a steal a game. Three times he topped the 20-point mark, including a career-high 25 points at Incarnate Word on Dec. 16.
Head Coach Kareem Richardson
Kareem Richardson enters his sixth season at the helm of the UMKC program in 2018-19 and has led the Roos to unprecedented success during his tenure. He was named the head coach at UMKC on March 19, 2013, becoming the sixth in the Division I era at UMKC. Richardson guided the 2016-17 UMKC squad to the second-most victories in a season (18) in school history. The Roos were selected for a postseason tournament for the first time in the program's 30-year Division I history, which included a victory over Green Bay in the opening round of the College Basketball Invitational. In 2016-17, UMKC set program records for points (2,691), field goals (911), rebounds (1,213), defensive rebounds (860), 3-pointers (315) and free throws (554). The Roos finished second in team history in assists (451) and third in steals (236). UMKC posted the longest winning streak for the program in 12 years from Jan. 31 – Feb. 18, 2017. The Roos got off to the program's best start in 15 years and advanced to the semifinals of the WAC Tournament for the third straight year.
The Blue & Gold will be back in action on Saturday when they host Avila at 2 p.m. at Municipal Auditorium.
– UMKC –