KANSAS CITY, Mo. – For the second-consecutive game, every Roo contributed for the UMKC men’s basketball team (6-17, 1-5 WAC), but the Western Athletic Conference powerhouse New Mexico State Aggies (18-3, 6-0 WAC) ran away with the victory to close the first half of conference play.
At the first media break of the game, the Aggies held the slim 7-4 lead over the Roos. Aleer Leek (Juba, South Sudan) led the team on the boards with five early rebounds, including four on the defensive end.
Marco Smith (Kansas City, Kan.) checked into the game for UMKC and immediately pushed the ball at the rim. The Roos entered a scoring drought nearing the midway point of the game, as the Aggies converted three-straight field goals to take the 15-6 lead over the Roos.
A scoring drought continued for UMKC, while New Mexico State entered one of its own, to keep the score at 15-6 with less than eight minutes to play in the first half. Sophomore Xavier Bishop (Springfield, Ill.) broke the dry spell for the Roos with a reverse layup at the 6:30-mark. A hook shot by Leek, and a layup from Isaiah Ross (Davenport, Iowa) brought UMKC back within three of the Aggies.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by New Mexico State grad transfer Zach Lofton, as a part of a 14-0 run, gave the Aggies their largest lead of the game while the Roos were sucked back into a scoring drought. A 3-pointer at the top of the arc by Jordan Giles (Tuscaloosa, Ala.) helped the Roos go on a miniature surge to go into the locker room, but New Mexico State still held the 12-point advantage over UMKC.
Coming out of the locker room, Bishop knocked in a trey before New Mexico State made four-straight field goals to take the 44-29 lead. Another 3-pointer by Bishop brought the sophomore up to 10 points.
Newcomer Steve Dulley (Kansas City, Mo.) checked into the game and made an aggressive play at the rim for the Roos. A quick 3-pointer for Dulley brought UMKC back within 11 points of the Aggies, forcing New Mexico State to call a timeout.
At the midway point of the second half, New Mexico State went on a 10-4 run to take its largest lead of the game, while shots wouldn’t fall for the Roos. A missed shot by the Aggies turned into Leek’s career-high eighth rebound to lead UMKC on the glass.
The Roos continued to be aggressive, as Smith stepped up to the free throw line and knocked in one-of-two. UMKC’s first field goal in nearly five minutes came from Brandon McKissic (Ferguson, Mo.), who laid it in to give the Roos some momentum. The freshman picked an Aggie pocket and helped UMKC get back to the free throw line.
Shots continued to fall for the Aggies, while the Roos couldn’t seem to score despite tremendous effort. UMKC’s final shot was a running layup by Robert Knar (Mundelein, Ill.) with less than a minute remaining, as the Roos fell 73-48 to close the home stand.
UMKC will hit the road for a pair of games at Grand Canyon and CSU Bakersfield next week to start the second half of WAC play.
– UMKC –