Martez Harrison scored 24 points and sparked a game-changing run in leading fifth-seeded UMKC to a come-from-behind 80-78 victory over fourth-seeded Utah Valley in the opener of the Western Athletic Conference basketball tournament on Thursday.
The Kangaroos, 12-18, play top-seeded New Mexico State, 22-9, in a semifinal Friday at 8 p.m.
It was Harrison’s 11th 20-plus point game this season. And he helped push the Kangaroos back from a 13-point halftime deficit.
UMKC took a 71-70 lead off six straight points from Harrison.
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Jaden Jackson responded with five points for the Wolverines, 12-18.
Harrison then opened an 8-0 run with a bucket, added another and also grabbed a rebound and passed to Thaddeus Smith for a fast-break layup and a 79-75 lead with 2:11 remaining. Cory Cardwell’s half-court try missed at the buzzer for Utah Valley.
LaVell Boyd scored 18 points and Darius Austin had 12 points and a career-high 16 rebounds for UMKC, which had 17 offensive rebounds for 16-3 edge in second-chance points.
Jackson scored 19 points and Dayon Goodman 18 for Utah Valley.
Utah Valley had defeated UMKC in their two regular-season meetings and led by 13 with 16:48 remaining.