KANSAS CITY, MO. -- After a heart-breaking loss Thursday at the hands of CSU Bakersfield, the UMKC Roos (7-11, 2-1 WAC) look to rebound against first-place Grand Canyon (11-7, 4-1 WAC) Saturday at 8 p.m. CST/7 p.m. Phoenix time from GCU Arena in Phoenix. Ariz.
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- The attempt to go 3-0 in conference play -- which would have been a first in more than a decade -- fell short for the Roos Thursday. After Brandon McKissic splashed a 3-pointer with 41.1 seconds remaining to give UMKC a 73-71 edge, CSU Bakersfield connected on three free throws for the game-winner with under a second left and pulled out a 74-73 victory. Xavier Bishop led the Roos for the 10th time this year with 19 points.
- After opening the year 0-6, UMKC has gone 7-5 since that winless start. The key to success in that turnaround has been shooting the basketball better. Here is the breakdown:
- 0-6 start 7-5 stretch
- 38.7 FG% 47.1 FG%
- 32.9 3-pt FG% 37.5 3-pt FG%
- 67.7 ppg 74.9 ppg
- 7.7 3-pt’s/game 8.7 3-pt’s/game
- 64.6 FT% 66.5 FT%
- Grand Canyon is tied with CSU Bakersfield for first in the WAC standings at 4-1 and 11-7 overall. They Lopes carry a 15-game home regular-season win streak into Saturday’s contest.
- Scouting the Opponent - The Lopes are 4-1 in their last five games. The team ranks first in the conference in assists per game (14.3). Damari Milstead is one of three Grand Canyon players in double-figure scoring (10.8). He also is the leading play-maker, ranking eighth in the WAC with 3.4 assists per game. Alessandro Lever puts in 13.4 points per game to lead the squad.
- The Roos seek to snap both a four-game overall losing streak in the series against Grand Canyon and halting a four-game road losing streak in Phoenix. The last time the Blue and White has won against the Lopes was Jan. 26, 2017 in Kansas City. The last road win came in the second-ever meeting on Feb. 27, 2014 in the 85-80 decision. Overall, Grand Canyon holds an 8-3 series advantage
- Aleer Leek, the lone senior on the team, recently played in his 100th career game. He accomplished the century milestone on Dec. 19, 2018 at Central Michigan. With 105 career contests, he needs four more to be on the Roo top 10 career list for most games played.
- How about that start -- With a 2-0 league mark, the Roos had their best start since the 2013-14 season. In coach Kareem Richardson’s first year, UMKC defeated Idaho and Seattle in two road meetings to lift off the 13-14 league season. UMKC finished WAC play with a 7-9 mark.
- WAC stats -- In conference games only (three games), UMKC is in the top two in several team categories:
• Scoring offense (79.0 - first)
• Steals per game (7.3 - second)
• Field goal percentage (47.8 - second)
- Home Sweet Home -- It is a ground-breaking time as the Blue and White plays all of its conference home games at Swinney Center on the UMKC campus for the first time since the 2012-13 season. That year, UMKC played its final six home games at Swinney, as members of the Summit League. Historically, UMKC played home games at Municipal Auditorium in downtown Kansas City, Mo. The move was done to bring the action to the heart of campus and enhance the energy and buzz in the crowd.
- Chasing History -- A few Roos are on the UMKC career record lists. Below are those marks.
• No. 18 in Career Points (860); No. 17 on the list is 873 (Nick Richmond)
• No. 9 in Career Assists (251); No. 8 on the list has 275 (Matt Suther)
• 15-straight 10-point games - 2 games shy of No. 9 (tie) in his career
• No. 8 in Career Blocked Shots (50); No. 8 on the list has 64 (Thaddeus Smith)
• 105 career games played - 4 games shy of No. 10 (tie) for career games played
• No. 3 in Career 3-Point Field Goal %, Min 75 Attempts (49 for 116, 42.2%)
- Fast Start - The 2-0 WAC start to the year is the best beginning in league play since the 2013-14 season. The Roos defeated Chicago State (Jan. 5) and California Baptist (Jan. 10).
- Coach Kareem Richardson, in his sixth year at UMKC, stands with 71 wins. That amount puts him No. 3 on the all-time Roo coaching win list (in NCAA era). He looks up on the list at coach Rich Zvosec, who coached six seasons from 2001-06, with 84 wins.
- Early on this season, junior Xavier Bishop tops the Roos at 16.1 points per game, while junior Rob Whitfield is at 11.7. On the glass, sophomore Marvin Nesbitt Jr., leads the team in rebounding with 4.4, while Bishop’s 4.3 assists also tops the team.
- With 19 points in his most recent game vs. CSU Bakersfield, Bishop has reached double-figures in 15-straight games. Overall, he has topped 10-plus points in 16-of-18 games this year.
- 1,000-point countdown - Bishop currently stands with 860 career points, which puts him No. 18 on the career UMKC list. He trails Nick Richmond (1995-99) with 873 points. There are 11 Roos in the 1,000-point club, with Lavell Boyd (2015-17) being the most recent 1,000-point scorer.
- Road Warriors - UMKC won back-to-back road games on Dec. 1 at Purdue Fort Wayne and Dec. 8 at South Dakota 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.
- Preseason Poll - 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.
- The Roos are playing in their 33rd year of NCAA basketball and currently hold a 389-543 mark since the 1986-87 season.
- Up Next - The Roos return to Kansas City for a two-game homestand against Utah Valley on Jan. 24 at 6 p.m. CT and Seattle on Jan. 26 at 6 p.m.