KANSAS CITY, Mo. – An 11-0 run in the middle of the second half put UMKC (4-8) in the lead for good as the Roos won a non-conference affair against the McNeese Cowboys (3-7), 80-67, tonight from Municipal Auditorium. Brandon McKissic fueled the spurt with his first points of the game, a string of seven in-a-row, and after his conversions the Roos led 55-44 at the 10:52 mark of the game.
McKissic was part of a four-player scoring machine. The Ferguson, Mo., native posted 12 points. Game-high totals went to Rob Whitfield, owner of five three-pointers, as he collected 19 points. For the ninth-straight game, Xavier Bishop put in double-figures with 16 points. Jordan Giles added 12 points.
“It was refreshing to bounce back,” said UMKC head coach Kareem Richardson. “We were really in a same situation tonight as we were Thursday night (in the loss) and obviously we didn’t close it out the way we needed to then. I thought the guys took care of the basketball tonight and got great shots down the stretch. It was cool to see the maturity and growth from the one game.”
Holding just a two-point lead at the half, UMKC used 64 percent (17-for-26) shooting in the final 20 minutes to break the game open. The 56.9 shooting percentage in the game was the second-highest mark this year. After McNeese trimmed the UMKC lead to 64-60 at the 4:39 mark, Giles splashed a 3-pointer, followed by a trifecta by Whitfield and the Roos led by at least seven points down the stretch.
The Roos forced 21 turnovers and held Cowboys’ Malik Hines five points below his scoring average with eight points tonight. Hines was one of three players that finished with at least four turnovers.
Bishop tied a season-high with seven assists in the winning effort. Danny Dixon grabbed a team-high five rebounds and had six points.
Shamarkus Kennedy led the Cowboys with 14 points on 7 of 8 shooting. Roydell Brown checked in with a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. McNeese shot 50 percent (27-of-54) from the floor. The Cowboys held a 31-18 rebounding advantage.
• UMKC next travels to Central Michigan on Wednesday, Dec. 19 for a 6 p.m. CT start.
• UMKC nailed 11 three-pointers tonight, the fourth occasion the Roos had at least 10 treys this year.
• The 21 turnovers forced by the Roos ties a season high.
• Jordan Giles came close to a season-high with his 12 points. His current season high is 15 in the contest against Morehead State on Nov. 16.
• With the win, UMKC moves to 2-2 in home games this year.
• Tonight’s contest was the first-ever meeting between the programs.
• The Roos send the Cowboys to their fourth loss in the last five games.
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