The Swinney Recreation Center was the venue for the conference season opener for both UMKC and IUPUI Thursday night. Through the first five games of the season it was hard to know what to expect out of the Roos since two of their three losses were blowouts at the hands of larger conference opponents – Seton Hall (now 5-2) and Ohio State (4-1). Their third loss was a close game against an Albany team that also fell to the Buckeyes but is otherwise off to a strong start of their own.
Seven and a half minutes in, the Roos and Jaguars were tied 14-14 but for the rest of the half UMKC dominated. They outscored IUPUI 31-12 to head into the locker room with a 19 point lead at 45-26. The Jaguars outscored the Roos by five in the second half but couldn’t work their way any closer than the 14 points they lost by and were down by as many as 22 along the way. In the end the Roos wound up with a comfortable 79-65 victory and have kicked off their conference schedule in fine fashion.
They were led by junior center Fred Chatmon who scored 20 points on 8-12 shooting. He was active in other facets of the game as well pulling down nine rebounds and blocking four shots. The rebounds and blocks were both season highs but not completely out of character relative to what he has shown thus far in 2012 but the scoring was completely unexpected. Prior to the game against IUPUI, Chatmon had only 18 points on 6-16 shooting through four games. Finally healthy, after dealing with injuries for most of his college career, this could be a sign of things to come for the 6’9″ center. There’s no question the Roos could definitely use an inside presence and the emergence of Chatmon could lead to great things for the team in the Summit League. Nate Rogers (13), Thomas Staton (11) and Kirk Korver (10) also scored in double digits for the Roos. While the team as a whole shot 53.1% in the game, Estan Tyler was just 2-6 from the floor and made just one of his five 3-point attempts.
Junior guard P.J. Hubert led IUPUI in scoring with 18 and hit four of his five 3-point attempts. However he put up goose-eggs outside of that with nary a rebound, assist, steal or block to his credit. John Hart and Mitchell Patton each scored ten but it was junior forward Donovan Gibbs who had the best game for the Jaguars with 14 points and eight rebounds.
In most categories the Roos held an advantage in the game. They won the battle on the glass 36-24, had more assists, steals and blocks and turned the ball over two fewer times. They also held a solid advantage in shooting percentage – 53.4% to 42.1% – and made more threes, but the Jaguars were far more efficient with their perimeter shooting (6-13) than the Roos (7-23). Both teams were dreadful from the free-throw line combining to make just 21 of 39 attempts (53.8%).
UMKC will stay in conference for its next game on December 1st with the Western Illinois Leathernecks (4-3) coming to town. From there they will return to non-conference action playing back-to-back road games against North Dakota (1-4) on the 5th and #5 Louisville (5-1) on the 8th.
The IUPUI Jaguars (3-5) will play another three games on the road in the next nine days. First up is a conference game with South Dakota (3-4) followed by matchups with the Butler Bulldogs (4-2) and Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (5-2).