It’s not often that a Summit League school gets to play host to a Big 12 opponent and given the way the game unfolded on Wednesday evening UMKC might not get another chance for awhile. Five and a half minutes into the game at Municipal Auditorium the Roos had hopped out to a surprising 8-2 lead and put Iowa State on notice early that they weren’t going to be a pushover. The two teams went into the break separated by the slimmest of margins with ISU in front 30-29.
UMKC came out strong in the second half as well taking the lead right away on a Nelson Kirksey jumper. It was a lead they would hold until a Will Clyburn layup put the Cyclones up 40-39 with 15:27 left on the clock. That layup was part of a 14-0 run that ISU used to take command of the game. They held serve from there winning by a 15-point margin, 76-61.
Both teams were exceptional from beyond the arc combining to make half of the 42 threes attempted in the game. The Cyclones 11-23 efforts in that regard hardly come as a surprise as you’d expect a Fred Hoibergcoached team to have more than a little shooting prowess. For the Roos their 10-19 evening from behind the arc was the best of their season marking just the second time they were over 50% (the other was a 9-17 effort against Lincoln) and the first that they hit ten or more. It was also a stark departure from the 8-36 they shot on three pointers in their last two games against Louisville and Appalachian State. Two other moral victories for the Roos on Wednesday, they held the Cyclones below their scoring and rebounding averages which is notable since ISU is a Top-10 team nationally in both categories.
With 17 points on 6-11 shooting, Estan Tyler paced the Roos while also contributing five rebounds and four assists. Nate Rodgers and Thomas Staton came off the bench to score 13 and 12 points respectively and combined to make 6-9 from three. Also in double figures was junior Nelson Kirksey who scored eleven while Fred Chatmon led the team in rebounds with seven and also scored eight points.
Only eight Cyclones saw time on the floor and it was senior guard Tyrus McGee who came off the bench to lead all scorers with 20 points. Six of his seven makes were three pointers. Chris Babb (12), Korie Lucious (11) and Anthony Booker (11) also finished with double digit point totals on the night.
Iowa State (9-3) will host the Ivy League’s Yale Bulldogs (4-7) on New Year’s Day. From there they will go eight days without a game before they tussle with the #9 Kansas Jayhawks (9-1) on January 9th.
Up next for UMKC (4-7) is a game against the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks (7-6) tomorrow afternoon at the Swinney Recreation Center. SEMO is no stranger to our area teams as they lost to Kansas by 19 on November 9th and lost by 16 to Missouri on December 4th. Having watched both of those games I can say with certainty that the Roos will have their hands full. The Redhawks are led by junior 6’8″ forward Tyler Stone (16.5 ppg, 8.5 rpg) and 6’8″ sophomore Nino Johnson (12.5 ppg, 10.0 rpg). Senior guard Corey Wilford has scored in double digits each of his last four games and is averaging 14.3 ppg on the season.