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Men’s basketball: Roos sweep the Denver Pioneers in a weekend double-header at Swinney Center

Kansas City used their disruptive defense to create turnovers, and capitalize on their opponent’s mistakes. (UMKC Men’s Basketball Instagram)

The Roos played a frustrating first half in Friday’s game. Kansas City’s top scorers Josiah Allick and Brandon McKissic picked up early fouls that limited their playing time. With forward Arkel Lamar unavailable, the Roos offense needed someone to step up. Luckily, senior guard Marvin Nesbit Jr. proved to be up to the task.

Nesbitt appeared in just eight games this season due to concussion protocol. In those eight games he averaged nearly 11 points a game and seven rebounds. Nesbitt came off the bench to score 18 in the first half on his way to 20 total points in the game, a career high.

Nesbitt’s performance coupled with a ferocious Kansas City defense kept the game tied 29-29 at halftime.

Coming out of the break, McKissic and Allick made their way back on the court, and the Roos unleashed a 18-4 run to start the second half. The pair only played 22 minutes each, but both significantly impacted the game. McKissic scored 16 in the game, and Allick scored all 13 of his points in the second half, headlined by a deep three-pointer that effectively closed the door on Denver.

Once again, Kansas City used their disruptive defense to create turnovers, and capitalize on their opponent’s mistakes. Junior guard Frank Kamgain led the Roos with three steals, adding to the nine total for the team. The Pioneers turned the ball over 20 times in the contest and Kansas City scored 20 points off those turnovers.

The Roos also got help from guard Zion Williams, with 11 points and 11 rebounds for his first career double-double.

Saturday marked the final home game of the year as well as Roos Basketball Senior Night at the Swinney Center. The Pioneers shot an astounding 61% from the field in the first half, but more turnover struggles and lackluster free throw shooting kept Denver down 31-32 at the break. Kamgain led the Roos in scoring with 11 first half points.

Once play resumed, both teams came out swinging. Denver’s forward Sam Hines Jr. and guard Jase Townsend caught fire, totaling 19 and 18 points, respectively.

With the opponents firing on all cylinders, Kansas City needed the whole team to step up. Kamgain kept the offensive pressure on, hitting four total three pointers to help reach a career-high 23 points. Brandon McKissic’s 16 points were second in Roos scoring, but his biggest impact came with his career-high eight assists. Zion Williams posted a career-high in points with 14, and Josiah Allick’s 13 points put four Roos into double-digit scoring.

Rather than going on a lopsided scoring run, the Roos slowly pulled away from Denver and eventually put the Pioneers away 80-69.

The Roos improve to 11-10 on the season. Kansas City travels to South Dakota State University next week for the final two games of the season. UMKC is fifth in the Summit League standings with the conference tournament just two weeks away. The winner of the Summit League tournament receives an automatic bid to the 2021 NCAA March Madness Tournament.

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