UMKC has racked up 13 losses, including nine in a row, and much of it has been a byproduct of poor shooting performances. On Wednesday night that wasn’t exactly the case as the Roos made 27 of 52 shots (51.9%). Unfortunately they still lost by twelve, 78-66, to the Utah Valley Wolverines. You may be asking yourself how a team that shoots nearly 52% from the floor could lose by such a margin when they matched their opponent in three-point makes, played nearly even on the glass and lost the turnover battle by just four.
It may seem like a mystery based on that information but in reality it’s pretty cut and dry.
Utah Valley shot 31-51 (60.8%) from the floor for the game and missed just FIVE shot attempts, two of them layups, in the second half. Chances are if a team goes 17-22 (77.3%) from the floor in a half they’re going to win and clearly the Wolverines didn’t buck that trend. The Roos defense, or lack thereof, played a part in the game as well as their opponent had little trouble getting to the basket with the lion’s share of their shot attempts coming from point blank range.
To be fair however, UMKC was without Estan Tyler, Nate Rogers, Mason Wedel, Alton Tanner and Trinity Hall. A mix of illness and injury cut deeply into the team’s depth to such a degree that junior walk-on Aaron Washington had to play point guard. It was his first career start and his 32 minutes of court time dwarf the lone minute of game action he had seen in his career with the Roos. Despite the lack of experience, Washington had eight points on 4-7 shooting and was responsible for five of the team’s eight assists in the game. Freshman guard John Burke, who had scored just 13 points in his career prior to Wednesday led the Roos with 15 in just 17 minutes of action. Nelson Kirksey and Thomas Staton each finished with an even ten points while Fred Chatmon and Brad Reid each finished with a half dozen rebounds.
Utah Valley had a trio of players score 18 points each. Of those three it was senior forward Nick Thompson that had the line of the game. He was 8-9 from the floor, made both his free throws and led the Wolverines in both rebounds (9) and assists (6). Ben Aird and Alfonzo Hubbard were the other two players that scored 18 in the game. Junior Guard Holton Hunsaker added eleven points, four assists and three steals in his 39 minutes of play.
The Wolverines (8-10, 0-1) will host Houston Baptist (4-11, 0-1) tomorrow night in a Great West conference showdown.
UMKC (4-13, 1-4) will look to snap their nine game losing skid tomorrow night in the Dakota Dome. Their opponent will be the South Dakota Coyotes (7-10, 3-2). It’s the same South Dakota team that suffered a 20 point pasting at the hands of Kansas State just under two weeks ago. On the other side of the coin, they’re coming off a three point win over South Dakota State – a team that beat the Roos by 16 just nine days ago. The Coyotes are led in points (15.3), assists (3.2) and steals (1.6) per game by senior guard Juevol Myles. 6’10” junior Trevor Gruis leads the team in rebounding with a 5.9 per game average and is chipping in an average of 11.2 points per game on top of that.