Game #9-046: Missouri-Kansas City vs. Albany Great DanesNovember 17, 2012 2:30 pm
UNCASVILLE, Conn. - Being at a casino and all, I decided to play a little internal challenge with Game 2 of the tripleheader (there were actually four games Saturday, but we don't care much about Seton Hall-Washington in these parts) between Albany and Missouri-Kansas City.
Normally, I would at least do a smidge of research about the teams playing. While I didn't actually see Albany play last season, they are familiar from America East and I know they've had plenty of success in the last decade, including a fateful NCAA Tournament game in 2006 when the No. 16 seed Great Danes led No. 1 UConn by double digits early in the second half.
Of course, UConn got theirs in the end
, didn't they?
From following scores, I also knew that Albany - despite being in a slight rebuilding mode - had beaten Duquense and pulled a Red Line Upset at Washington, what coach Will Brown (who's been there 12 years) called the biggest win in the history of the program.
Here's what I knew about UMKC: they play in the Summit League (marking the second of three straight days I will see a Summit League squad) and their nickname is the Kangaroos.
It speaks to just how vast the Division I college basketball world is. While I don't spend every waking hour studying scores and reading media guides, I do look almost every day and read stories about interesting teams or players. Yet, with the teams below the Red Line approaching 300, even as a self-described "expert" (humbly, of course), there are teams about which I know next to nothing. Yet,surely they have fanbases, stories, hard-working coaches. Unless they show up on ESPN in March, it's hard to keep track.
So I decided to keep my ignorance on UMKC, at least until halftime. I came straight from the blackjack table back to my seat at tip-off, and didn't even look at a roster, just sat and watched.
Immediately, I did recall one thing about UMKC, that Kirk Korver was the younger brother of former Creighton star and current Atlanta Hawk Kyle Korver. Didn't take an expert to figure that out, especially when he started launching three-pointers. Or when you looked at the resemblance.
I was immediately impressed by the point guard, Estan Tyler, who was smooth, and seemed to be very much composed against a tough Albany defense. The Roos climbed back from an early 6-point deficit behind the shooting of Korver and Nate Rogers, and were playing some great defense of their own at the other end.
Their coach, Matt Brown (which made this one the battle of the Browns), struck me as an energetic type. He didn't move up and down the sidelines much, but - even on the opposite side of the court - I could hear Brown shouting out signals and instructions, almost non-stop.
UMKC led 26-23 at the half, and it was time to finally look at the roster. Brown was in his sixth year and Tyler was a sophomore from St. Paul, Minn., which was interesting because he played in the same style that fellow Minnesota resident Nate Wolters does. The Roos were 10-21 last season, dead last in the Summit League, which might explain a little while I knew so little about them.
But just when I figured out that this might be a big win for them, things started to unravel. Jacob Iati, a transfer from High Point, decided to have a career game (24 points), and back-to-back superhoops from Mike Black (the hero with the game-winner at Washington) suddenly propelled Albany to a 40-33 lead midway through the second half.
It got to double digits, but UMKC made one final run, forcing consecutive Albany turnovers, and getting a three-pointer from Tyler and an omgdunx from junior Fred Chatmon to get the lead back to two. Alas, Ieti was unflappable on the free throw line (despite some heckling from the only fan in the upper deck), going 6-for-6 as Albany held on for the 62-59 win.
Some postgame research showed that UMKC has actually been a Division I team since 1986, and only Western Illinois has been a member of the Summit (formerly Mid-Continent) League longer. They've had a couple of decent seasons, but have never been to a NCAA Tournament. Brown currently ranks dead last in winning percentage in UMKC coaching history, and that probably can't bode well in a sixth season, a time where long-term choices are made on leaders of Division I programs.
After the game, I actively searched for a UMKC fan at the Mohegan Sun. Couldn't find one. I'll try again tomorrow.
One other interesting note: the nickname Kangaroos was actually born when the school (then Kansas City College) didn't have one and the nearby Kansas City Zoo had brought in a couple of kangaroos for display. Missouri native Walt Disney drew the first logo.
We like to be educational sometimes here at the Mid-majority. As they say in the business, the more you know.....
ALBANY 62, MISSOURI-KANSAS CITY 59
MISSOURI-KANSAS CITY 1-2 (0-0) -- E. Tyler 5-8 4-4 17; N. Rogers 4-10 0-0 10; K. Korver 3-11 7-8 16; F. Chatmon 2-6 0-0 4; T. Staton 2-6 0-0 4; T. Hall 0-7 1-2 1; B. Reid 0-0 1-2 1; N. Kirksey 1-3 1-3 3; M. Wedel 0-0 0-0 0; A. Tanner 1-1 0-0 3. Totals 18-52 14-19 59.
ALBANY 3-1 (0-0) -- M. Black 2-8 10-12 16; J. Iati 6-8 9-10 24; P. Hooley 3-7 0-0 6; J. Puk 0-3 2-2 2; B. Metcalf 2-2 1-2 5; S. Rowley 3-5 1-2 7; J. Guerrier 1-3 0-0 2; D. Wiegmann 0-3 0-0 0; L. Devlin 0-2 0-0 0; D. Evans 0-0 0-0 0; G. Johnson 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 17-42 23-28 62.
Three-point goals: UMKC 9-22 (T. Staton 0-1; N. Rogers 2-6; K. Korver 3-9; E. Tyler 3-4; N. Kirksey 0-1; A. Tanner 1-1), ALB 5-10 (J. Iati 3-4; M. Black 2-3; J. Guerrier 0-1; L. Devlin 0-1; D. Wiegmann 0-1); Rebounds: UMKC 29 (F. Chatmon 8), ALB 28 (B. Metcalf 7); Assists: UMKC 10 (E. Tyler 6), ALB 7 (B. Metcalf 2); Total Fouls -- UMKC 25, ALB 21; Fouled Out: UMKC-N. Rogers; ALB-None.
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