KANSAS CITY, Mo. – After winning three straight, the UMKC men’s basketball team will look to win its third and fourth straight games when it takes on UT Rio Grande Valley and New Mexico State this week.
UMKC Kangaroos (9-19, 4-7) at UT Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros (14-14, 5-6) | at New Mexico State Aggies (22-5, 9-2)
Dates & Times: Feb. 22, 7 p.m. CT | Feb. 24, 8 p.m. CT
Location: Edinburg, Texas | Las Cruces, N.M.
Site: UTRGV Fieldhouse (2,500) | Pan American Center (12,482)
UMKC: Notes for UTRGV Game | Notes for NMSU Game | Men’s Basketball Homepage
UTRGV: Men’s Basketball Homepage
Live In-Game Updates: @UMKCmbb
After knocking off Seattle U, Utah Valley and Chicago State in their last three contests, UMKC will hit the road for contests at UT Rio Grande Valley and New Mexico State.
The Roos have saved their best for last winning three in a row for the first time since winning five straight last season from Jan. 31 to Feb. 8. During the stretch, Jordan Giles leads the Roos at 19.3 ppg, while Isaiah Ross is at 13.0 ppg, Brandon McKissic is at 12.0 ppg, Xavier Bishop is at 10.3 ppg and Broderick Robinson is at 10.0 ppg.
In the contest with the Cougars, McKissic and Giles led the Roos with 17 points apiece, with Giles adding six rebounds and McKissic chipping in three rebounds, three steals and two assists. Ross, meanwhile, was the third Roo in double figures, finishing with 14 points, including hitting 4-of-8 from three-point range, three assists and two rebounds.
Against Seattle U, UMKC outrebounded the Redhawks, 35-32, making it the first time this season that the Roos had outrebounded their opponent. Giles had his first career double-double, finishing with 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead the team.
In the contest with the Wolverines, 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. For the night, UMKC shot 52 percent, and hit 13-28 from three.
In UMKC’s 62-59 conference victory over CSU Bakersfield on Jan. 18, sophomore Bishop drained his first college career game-winning 3-pointer to give the Roos their first WAC win. The guard currently leads the team on the court, averaging 12.0 points per game.
Despite falling to New Mexico State on Jan. 27, Aleer Leek continued to make an impact on the defensive end, grabbing a career high 10 rebounds. The junior also has the fifth-most blocks in the league with 29, averaging 1.1 per game this season.
UMKC overcame a 16-point deficit for a 79-77 victory at USC Upstate on Jan. 2, led by a 21-point game from Ross and 20-point performance from Robinson. It marked the third time in four outings that Ross tabulated at least 20 points, while it was Robinson’s third 20-point game of the season.
In the Roos game at Incarnate Word on Dec. 16, UMKC blocked 10 shots as a team - just one shy of the program record of 11 that was set against Nicholls State in 1991.
In UMKC’s 65-55 win at UT Martin on Nov. 26, Ross became the first Roo since standout LaVell Boyd against South Dakota in 2015 to connect on 10-plus field goals in a single game.
As a team, the Roos are shooting just over 70 percent from the free throw line, with Knar shooting a team-high 82.4 percent at the charity stripe. In UMKC’s victory at USC Upstate on Jan. 2, 11 of Giles’ 15 points came at the free throw line. The Roos shot a then season-high 84.6 percent from the charity stripe at Seattle U on Jan. 13, before topping the mark with an 85.7 percent number in the home contest with the Redhawks on Feb. 8.
The Roos are averaging 6.6 steals per game, compared to their opponents at 5.4 per contest. Robinson leads the team and the WAC with 42 on the year, while Marco Smith has 26, McKissic has 22 and Bishop has 21.
Kareem Richardson’s troop features six returning letterwinners and welcomes nine newcomers this season. The Roos will look to the senior leadership of Robinson, as UMKC lost all five of its starters from 2016-17. Robinson, along with Bishop played in all 35 games for the Roos last season, while Ross made an appearance in 34 contests. Richardson enters his fifth year at the helm of the Roos program.
– UMKC –