KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The UMKC men’s basketball team (4-9) returns to Kansas City where they will host Elon (4-8) in their final nonconference home game at Municipal Auditorium at 2 p.m. CT on Sat., Dec. 22.
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 17.0 points, while Whitfield is at 13.4. On the glass, Dixon (5.1) leads the squad, while Bishop’s 4.5 assists also top the team.
Elon enters the game with a 4-8 mark on the season with Division I wins over Manhattan and Kennesaw State. On the season, the Phoenix are scoring 72.7 points, while allowing 76.1. Tyler Seibring (16.7) and Steven Santa Ana (16.3) lead the team in scoring, while Sheldon Eberhardt (10.3) is also in double figures. Santa Ana (6.5) and Seibring (5.2) also top the team on the glass.
Last Time Out
The UMKC men’s basketball team (4-9) fell 81-72 on Wednesday night against Central Michigan (9-2) in McGuirk Arena. The Roos led by as many as six at 39-33 early in the second half, but fell behind the Chippewas. UMKC reclaimed the lead and maintained it until the 10:34 mark when CMU tied the game at 51. Central Michigan then used a 12-0 run to stretch its advantage to ten. The Roos closed the gap back down to as little as five three times, including lastly when Rob Whitfield buried a pair of free throws to make it 77-72 with 1:30 left on the clock. UMKC, however, was unable to get any closer as CMU came away with the win.
Roo Player of the Week
Rob Whitfield made nine three-pointers in the two games last week and now has hit at least four treys in a game on five occasions this year. He tied a career-high with five threes in win against McNeese. With 15 and 19 points last week, he has now hit 10-plus points in six-straight games and 9-of-12 games. He had team-high 19 points against McNeese and ranks No. 36 in NCAA in three-point field goal percentage (.464) and No. 24 in total three-pointers made (34).
UMKC won back-to-back road games for the first time since 2014-15 when they beat Utah Valley 66-59 in Orem on Jan. 31. 2015 and Chicago State 61-50 in Chicago on Feb. 14, 2015 with their victories over Purdue Fort Wayne and South Dakota.
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 closes out the 2018 portion of its schedule when it heads to Omaha, Neb., on Dec. 27 to take on Creighton at 7 p.m. CT.
– UMKC –