Kansas City men’s basketball won its third-straight home game against Missouri Valley opponent Western Illinois University (WIU) 68-67 at the Swinney Center Saturday night.
“I’m really proud,” said Head Coach Billy Donlon. “If you can draw up a way to win a game, I would take that way.”
Senior guard Jahshire Hardnett led the team with 19 points. Despite Western Illinois’ second half comeback, Hardnett stayed composed, smooth and was the energy and pace setter for the Roos.
“We have a young team, and somebody has to be able to keep composure when things are not going our way,” Hardnett said. “As a group, we did a good job to keep our composure and play. And I’m just glad we got the win.”
Hardnett’s composure is what led Kansas City to a win with 5.6 seconds left on the clock. With the game at 66-67, Hardnett was fouled and then sank two free throws, giving the Roos a one-point victory.
The Roos got off to a hot start, winning rebounds, playing at a fast pace and forcing mistakes by WIU. The starting five set the pace for the game, dropping 10 points in the first three minutes and leaving the Leathernecks scoreless. Kansas City lead 39-27 at halftime with Hardnett at 10 points and senior forward Javan White with eight.
Senior forward Jordan Giles started the second half with four baskets at the charity stripe, bringing the score to 43-29. As the game progressed, Kansas City wasn’t able to hold its position, allowing WIU to creep back into the game. With seven minutes left on the clock, it was a one-point game, 56-55.
“We are not a finished product,” Donlon said. “We are not ready for 40 minutes playing excellent on both ends, and we’re going to get there.”
The veterans on the team kept Kansas City alive and did not allow WIU to get a shot off at the buzzer.
White had his third double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds, junior guard Marvin Nesbitt Jr. finished with 12 points, and Giles added seven. Kansas City outrebounded WIU 38-29 and made 25 of 59 field goals.
The Roos are back on the road this week, taking on Big 12 Iowa State Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. in Ames, Iowa.