Not the way UMKC wanted to go into the holiday break.
The Kangaroos got run out of Municipal Auditorium in an 81-60 loss to Tennessee Tech on Monday.
UMKC will return after Christmas to begin a three-game road trip and hope it finds more production than it did against the Golden Eagles.
“We went them to regroup, find some confidence,” UMKC associated head coach Angres Thorpe said.
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A better offensive approach would also help. Some of the struggles Monday were expected. Tech is bigger and averages five more boards per game than opponents. Agianst the Roos, Tech won the board battle 45-23.
Complicating matters for UMKC, top big man Shayok Shayok missed his fourth straight game becae of a shoulder injury. He leads the Roos in rebounding at seven per game.
It means UMKC has to cash in from the free-throw line on drives and the perimeter, and there wasn’t nearly enough from either source to keep things interesting.
Scoring hadn’t been a problem recently. The Kangaroos had just played two of its best games of the season on the offensive end.
They defeated Omaha 79-72 last week and fell to Incarnate Wood 110-104 in triple overtime on Saturday.
“That took something out of us, but we need to know how to come back in a short turnaround,” Thorpe said.
In those games, UMKC got production from the usual cast, like Martez Harrison and Frank Williams, but others stepped up in those games.
Monday, everybody seemed to struggle. Harrison didn’t have a field goal until early in the second half and he and Williams combined to go six of 26 from the floor.
Freshman guard Noah Knight, with a season-best 12 points on four of six shooting, was the top weapon.
The first half set a dismal tone. UMKC went the first seven minutes without scoring and was down by as many as 23 in the half. The Kangaroos missed all six from behind the arc, a streak that grew to 12 in the second half.
All of this was happening with Charles Jackson, Tech’s top scorer and rebounder, on the bench for all but six minutes with foul trouble. It didn’t matter. UMKC couldn’t keep up no matter who was on the floor for the Golden Eagles.
The Kangaroos found some energy in the second half, especially on defense. Tech committed 13 second-half turnovers. But UMKC could get no closer than 14.
Four non-conference games remain for the Kangaroos , 4-9, starting with Sunday’s visit to Indiana State.
The team that started the year with an eyebrow-raising victory over Missouri has delivered other encouraging moments, like the strong second half against Iowa State and the victory over Omaha. The search for more positive moments continues.