Desperately Missing Angel, Wildcats Barely Survive UMKC


Did you hear that loud thud during the Kansas State and UMKC game held at Bramlage this evening? If so then you are aware of the moment that the Wildcats came back down to earth. Fresh off their victory over the then #8 Florida Gators it would reasonable to expect K-State to be in the midst of a bit of a hangover against the Summit League’s Roos.

Kangaroos guard Estan Tyler drives by Rodney McGruder. (Photo Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports)

Anyone watching the game in person or by way of the television broadcast saw exactly that. They also saw a UMKC that plays a similarly disjointed style of basketball. The Wildcats play exceptional defense at times. So do the Roos. More often than not, the Wildcats struggle to make shots. So do the Roos.

Speaking of struggling to make shots, the two teams combined to make a meager 32.7% from the floor on their way to 96 total points and a 52-44 final score. The Wildcats wound up with the ugly eight point win but that margin is a bit misleading. With under four minutes to play in the game the Roos were trailing by just three points and were very much in the mix until the last minute or so of action.

Adding potential upset intrigue to the game was the absence of Angel Rodriguez. K-State’s floor general was held out of the game due to a “minor” injury and if there were any questions about his importance to the team, they have now been definitively answered. On top of missing their point guard, the Wildcats were also without the services of Martavious Irving for the duration of the game.

With 13 points, Thomas Staton was the only Roo to break double digits, but needed twelve shots to get there. Estan Tyler had four of the team’s five assists in addition to his six points and Kirk Korver scored eight primarily thanks to his 2-5 night from beyond the arc. UMKC nearly out-rebounded K-State in the game but in the closing minutes the Wildcats pulled ahead and finished with a slim three board advantage, 38-35. On the Roos side of the equation, their presence on the glass was shouldered by Fred Chatmon who pulled down 16 while blocking two shots. He finished with nine points and was easily UMKC’s player of the game.

The Wildcats were predictably paced by Rodney McGruder who led all scorers with 17 points on 7-17 shooting. He also had five rebounds, four steals, two assists and a block while playing all but one minute of the game. Thomas Gipson was also in double digits with 13 points and added six rebounds. Pressed into additional playing time due to the injuries to Rodriguez and Irving, Sophomore Nino Williams set a career high with 13 rebounds. His 32 minutes were more than double his 15 minute per game average and marked the first time in his career he’s played more than 20 in a single game.

What’s Next:

UMKC (4-9, 1-1) has to recover quickly and prepare for an in-conference road game against the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks (3-12, 0-3). It is on the road but Monday’s game is one that the Roos need to win after five straight losses. It’s also one that they should win if they put forth the same effort they did tonight in Manhattan, KS.

#25 K-State (10-2) will also be playing a Summit League opponent on Monday as they host the South Dakota Coyotes (6-8). South Dakota doesn’t have a notable win on their schedule and have lost by 20 to Wyoming, 38 to Gonzaga and 24 to Iowa.