UMKC men’s basketball advanced to the WAC semifinal before losing to New Mexico State. They got that far with an incredible comeback victory against Utah Valley in the opening of WAC tournament play.
Down 13 in the second half, the Roos rallied to win 80-78. Martez Harrison led the team with 22 points and LaVell Boyd was 4-for-5 from three-point range. Offensive rebounding was one of the differences. The team finished with 49 total rebounds and 49 points in the second half.
“For us, offensive rebounding was one of our keys offensively, and we did a much better job finishing near the rim in the second half,” head coach Kareem Richardson said.
The Roos finished the season strong after struggling halfway in and excelling early. In December, the Roos won six of eight and the first seven games at home. Conference play started slow for the Roos, who finished the season 12-19 overall.
Advancing to the first ever conference title game in school history was a task too tall, as New Mexico State won the semifinal contest 78-64. After 49 rebounds secured the first round win and advanced the Roos to the semifinal, 28 was all they could manage against the number one seed. New Mexico State had 40 rebounds.
“I thought their size and depth caused us problems, making it tough to finish at the rim, as well as their offensive rebounding,” Coach Richardson said.
Boyd, honored on the WAC All-Newcomer Team, scored 23 against the Aggies. Harrison, All-WAC Second Team selection, finished with 15.