Kansas City men’s basketball entered last week’s contest against California State Bakersfield (CSUB) with a chance to clinch the team’s best ever home record to start the season. The Roos were unable to make history, however, falling 64-74 in their first defeat at Swinney this year.
“(CSUB) came in physically and controlled the game on both sides of the ball,” said Head Coach Billy Donlon. “Their physicality really bothered with our offense, and their physicality hurt us with our defense. They deserve a lot of credit. We haven’t been a good basketball team for three or four games now. We have not been playing tough basketball, and that’s my fault. You just can’t win at the highest level because you score the ball.”
The Roos were down big early after Bakersfield hit its first nine shots to take a 12-point lead. Senior forward Jordan Giles had six points in the first half, ending a long scoring drought, and freshman forward Maks Klanjscek drilled a few threes to close the deficit to seven points at halftime.
“I need to be more aggressive on offense because I haven’t been in the past, but I honestly had an off-night, shooting 33 percent from the field,” said Giles.
The Roos’ momentum carried into the second, as they continued a 19-2 run and lead for most of the half.
Despite his off night from the field, Giles lead the team with 19 points, playing aggressively and going 11-13 from the line. In the closing minutes of the second half, three Roos fouled out, including Giles.
The Roos led until the Runners hit two free throws to tie the game, which led to a free-throw frenzy for both teams that led to overtime, the contest knotted at 56-56.
In overtime, the Runners took control and never looked back, scoring five straight points to start. Junior guard Marvin Nesbitt Jr. hit a three to cut the lead down to two, but Runners’ guard Justin Edler-Davis put the game on ice after hitting three jumpers to increase CSUB’s lead to 10 with a minute left.
The Roos play next against Crowley’s Ridge on Monday, Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. at Swinney Center.