KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Mississippi State could not hold a late lead in dropping its first true road contest of the men’s basketball season Saturday.
After rallying from down eight points in the first half, the Bulldogs could not protect a late three-point lead, dropping a 72-67 decision to Missouri-Kansas City at Municipal Auditorium.
“We missed a lot of opening shots,” MSU head coach Ben Howland said. “We will see lot of zone this year so we need to have more shots by Gavin (Ware). It was really great to have that run there late to have a chance. (Quinndary Weatherspoon) really was a great spark off the bench.
“We rushed the shot when we were up three and you can’t do that. We had three straight possessions where we took shots that really weren’t shots we need to take.”
Coming off a 10-day break for final examinations, MSU (4-4) saw a three-game winning streak snapped. A member of the Western Athletic Conference, UMKC (6-4) snapped a two-game losing streak.
Malik Newman led the Bulldogs with a career-high 18 points. Ware and Craig Sword each added 12 points, while I.J. Ready had 11 points. Ware fouled out with slightly better than four minutes left in the contest.
The Bulldogs built an early 10-9 lead on a basket by Ready. MSU then went more than four minutes without scoring as UMKC sprinted to a 17-10 advantage.
Down 20-12, the Bulldogs began the comeback with a 3-point basket from Sword. An offensive rebound by Travis Daniels led to a fast-break 3-pointer by Ready and a 27-25 MSU lead.
UMKC recovered for a 31-29 halftime lead.
In the second half, the lead changed hands several times before UMKC streaked out to a 59-53 lead with 5:16 left in the contest.
A 3-point basket by Weatherspoon capped an 11-0 run and placed the Bulldogs on top 64-61. The Bulldogs had another possession with that lead but could not stretch the advantage.
In the end, a 61 percent second-half performance from the field proved too much to overcome.
For the contest, the Bulldogs hit 23 of 62 shots from the field (37.1 percent), 7 of 29 shots from 3-point range (24.1 percent) and 14 of 19 shots from the foul line (73.7 percent). The Kangaroos hit 27 of 50 shots from the field (54.0 percent), 5 of 11 shots from 3-point range (45.5 percent) and 13 of 17 shots from the foul line (76.5 percent).
UMKC held a 31-30 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 13 assists and 12 turnovers, while the Kangaroos had 14 assists and 17 turnovers. Weatherspoon and Sword each had three steals for the Bulldogs.
“As a team we shot too many 3s,” Howland said. “We had some open looks. If you take Malik out, we were 3-of-19 from 3-point range. That is not good.”
For UMKC, Martez Harrison had 21 points, while Shayok Shayok had 15 points.
Mississippi State remains on the road for a Wednesday night contest at Florida State. The Bulldogs and Seminoles tip at 8 p.m. CT in a contest televised nationally by ESPN2.
(From MSU Media Relations)