UMKC defeats Missouri 69-61 in season opener at the Mizzou Arena

For the first time since 2003, Head Coach Kareem Richardson and the UMKC men’s basketball team defeated a BCS conference team on Monday night. They defeated the Missouri Tigers 69-61 for the first time in school history. Team captain Martez Harrison scored 26 points.

After defeating Rockhurst University in an exhibition match at Municipal Arena last week, Kansas City took a 7-5 lead thanks to a jump shot by Darius Austin with 14:13 left on the clock. The Kangaroos led the rest of the game.

The victory also marked the eighth time in school history UMKC has defeated a BCS conference team. Richardson seemed content with his players, but emphasized the importance of maintaining momentum in WAC play.

“I’m not going to sit here and fool anybody,” Richardson said in the post-game press conference. “It’s big for our program [the win], but it can’t be the biggest one for us this year. We have to build on it and look forward to the next challenge.”

In the first half, Kansas City recorded five three-pointers, two from freshman Collin Jennings, which extended the team’s advantage going into halftime. Throughout the game, Mizzou had a hard time with UMKC’s zone defense and struggled to put together enough runs to gain the lead.

In the second half, the ’Roos answered nearly every Missouri scoring run, despite losing starter Reese Holliday to an injury in the first half..

With 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Tigers were able to cut the ’Roos’ lead by three until junior Shayok Shayok answered with a jump shot allowing UMKC to maintain its five-point lead.

Harrison set a career high, making 15 of 16 free throws, which is also the most free throws made in a game for a UMKC player since Tony Dumas 20 years ago.

“My main focus throughout the offseason was to improve at the free throw line,” Harrison said. “As a team, we’re looking to improve from last year and living up to the team goals that we have set for ourselves.”

Kansas City shot 37 percent and held MU at 38 percent shooting, and took a 43-38 rebound edge and shot 13 more free throws. Shayok finished with 10 points and seven rebounds, and Frank William matched a career-high with seven rebounds and seven points.

The Kangaroos will head to Manhattan, Kan., to face the K-State Wildcats at Bramlage Coliseum at 7 p.m. Monday as a part of the EA Sports Maui Invitational Opening Roun

Dan Moreno is in his second year writing with University News, follow him on Twitter @daromode92

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