UMKC nearly upsets No. 25 K-State in 52-44 loss

  • Article by: DAVE SKRETTA
  • Associated Press
  • December 29, 2012 - 9:30 PM

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Missouri-Kansas City has already played Seton Hall and Ohio State this season. The school from the Summit League has played Louisville and Iowa State, too.

The `Roos weren't going to be intimidated by No. 25 Kansas State.

Fred Chatmon had nine points and 16 rebounds in a gritty performance, Thomas Staton finished with 13 points and the `Roos took the Wildcats down to the wire in a 52-44 loss Saturday night.

"We had a chance to beat a Top 25 team at their place," Kansas City coach Matt Brown said. "I don't think they respected our team. I don't think they respected our program."

They probably have plenty of respect for the `Roos now.

Rodney McGruder scored 17 points, Thomas Gipson had 13 points and six rebounds and the Wildcats (10-2) needed every bit of offense they provided.

Playing without guards Angel Rodriguez and Martavious Irving due to injuries, Kansas State shot just 32 percent from the field, went 2 of 10 from beyond the arc and was 16 of 31 from the foul line in its first game since beating then-No. 8 Florida.

"It wasn't the prettiest game you'll ever see," coach Bruce Weber said.

Kansas State led just 25-21 at halftime, and the `Roos (4-9) managed to charge back within 36-34 midway through the second half. They made one final push down the stretch, when Chatmon's basket got them to 39-36 with 4:09 left, before Kansas State finally pulled away.

"They're a Top 25 team and they just beat Florida," Brown said. "I'm sure they looked at our record and kind of overlooked us a little bit."

Kansas City has lost five straight, including games against the Cyclones and Cardinals, and is winless in 17 games against teams ranked in the Top 25.

That includes three games against ranked foes this season.

"We've never played three ranked teams in school history," Brown said. "We've played so many good teams. We don't play teams like that in our league."

Kansas State showed the same kind of tenacious defense that it displayed against the Gators in the opening minutes, forcing the `Roos into turnovers on four of their first five possessions.

Missouri-Kansas City didn't hit a field goal inside the arc until the 13:12 mark as the Wildcats built a 20-9 lead. But that's when Kansas State suddenly went cold, converting just two field goals the rest of the half and allowing Kansas City to get back in the game.

"It was kind of like an off night," McGruder said.

The `Roos took advantage of it, too. Chatmon had 10 first-half rebounds, and his two putbacks late in the half allowed Kansas City to cut into the Wildcats' lead. Staton's 3-pointer with just over a minute left helped to trim the Wildcats' advantage to 25-21 at the break.

"Our guys were excited to be down four at the half," Brown said. "Truth be told, I was upset we weren't up by five."

Kansas City kept hanging around early in the second half.

After a basket by McGruder with 12:59 left gave the Wildcats a 36-29 lead, they failed to score on their next six possessions, turning it over three times. That allowed the `Roos to score five quick points and trim the lead to 36-34, the closest they'd been since the opening minute.

Will Spradling finally managed to get something going for Kansas State, driving down the right side of the lane and taking advantage of a nice pick by Gipson for an easy layup.

Williams' three-point play and McGruder's floater in the lane allowed Kansas State to start getting comfortable, and Williams' driving basket with 1:38 to go ended the `Roos' upset bid.

"They didn't back down. We started, I think, 7 of 12 from the floor, and after that it was atrocious," Weber said. "A lot of things went wrong and sometimes that happens."

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