It was oh so tantalizing for the UMKC Kangaroos.
Playing in the opening game of the men’s WAC tournament as the No. 7 seed against No. 2 seed Utah Valley, UMKC had a 49-40 lead with just over 10 minutes to play and upset on the mind.
But the Kangaroos could not hold off Utah Valley down the stretch and lost 71-64 in the quarterfinals on Thursday night at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
UMKC finished its season at 11-21.
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Utah Valley improved to 24-8 and advanced to the semifinals where it will take on either Grand Canyon or Seattle on Friday.
It was the third time UMKC lost to Utah Valley this season. The Kangaroos, though, were hoping this one would be different. And it looked that way for a good spell of the game.
UMKC closed the first half on a little rally and had a 37-35 lead at the break. UMKC outscored Utah Valley 12 to 5 to start the half, battled with Utah Valley and was tied at 62-62 with 2:10 to go but could not close the deal.
Xavier Bishop led the Kangaroos with 17 points. Jake Toolson scored a game-high 20 for Utah Valley.
UMKC was trying to make it to the semifinals of the WAC tournament for the fourth time in five seasons.