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The Kansas City men’s basketball thrashed crosstown foe Avila University 102-49 in their season opener last week at the Swinney Center. The Roos didn’t disappoint their home faithful in the first game under new Head Coach Billy Donlon, as the contest was out of reach by halftime.

“You’re just happy for the guys and how hard they worked,” Donlon said. “To be dominant for about 30 minutes against a better Avila team is great. You want the guys to work hard, but you also want them to enjoy this win.” 

Junior guard Brandon McKissic played like a superstar, racking up 23 points in the first half and finishing with a career-high 27. McKissic, an All-WAC defender, also drained five threes. 

The Eagles had no answer for him in the first half, and this opened up room for freshman snipers Maks Klanjseck and Josiah Allick to shoot away. The Roos were already up 22 after the first half. As a team, Kansas City shot 40% from three and 52% from the field.

It was junior guard Marvin Nesbitt Jr.’s time to shine in the second half, as he went on a personal 14-point tear. After four lead changes early in the game, Kansas City kept a stranglehold on the contest the rest of the way and never gave Avila a chance to come back. Every Roo that stepped on the floor scored, and nine finished with at least one assist on the way to a 30 assist outing. 

Kansas City’s defense was outstanding, forcing 28 turnovers, holding Avila to 30% shooting (17 second-half points) and outrebounding the Eagles 42-29. 

“I’m happy that we won, but there are things that we have to clean up,” McKissic said. “Getting 30 assists on 38 made shots is really good against any team.” 

The Roos turned their sights to Big 12 opponent Oklahoma State next. Entering the game as heavy underdogs, the Roos were able to keep things close in the first half, but the Cowboys eventually pulled away with a 69-51 victory. 

“We were not as sharp as we needed to be on offense, and our defensive rebounding must get better,” Donlon reported to Kansas City Athletics.

The men’s team returns to action with a road contest against Drake on Nov. 13 at 7 p.m.

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