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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, December 31, 6 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Ralston Arena (4,691) -- Omaha, Nebraska. Television: None. Home Record: UMKC 1-4, Omaha 2-2. Away Record: UMKC 1-4, Omaha 0-9. Neutral Record: UMKC 2-1, Omaha 1-1. Conference Record: UMKC 1-1, Omaha 0-3. Series Record: UMKC leads, 4-3.
GAME NOTES: A pair of struggling Summit League squads meet on Monday at Ralston Arena, as the Nebraska Omaha Mavericks face off against the UMKC Kangaroos.
UMKC has all but spoiled a solid 4-3 start to the season by falling into a five-game losing streak in recent weeks, with its most recent loss coming at Kansas State on Saturday, 52-44. The silver lining for the Roos of late has been that their last two losses have come by a combined nine points. They have split their first two league games, beating IUPUI (79-65) and losing to Western Illinois (68-63).
Omaha has been even worse than UMKC this season, as it has recorded just three wins in 15 tries. The Mavericks' campaign reached a new low this past weekend, as they got blown out of their own building, 95-72, by conference foe South Dakota. Their only win in the past month came against Division II foe Benedictine College, 74-70, on Dec. 18.
With a 77-74 win over Omaha in November of last season, UMKC took a 4-3 advantage in the all-time series.
The Roos were impressive at the defensive end of the court against Kansas State, holding it to a lowly 32.1 percent shooting effort, but unfortunately they put forth one of their worst offensive performances of the year in the eight-point loss, making just 33.3 percent of their total shots while committing 19 turnovers. Thomas Staton was the only player to score in double figures with 13 points, but he did so on just 3-of-12 shooting from the field. Fred Chatmon was a difference-maker in the frontcourt with nine points, two blocks and 16 rebounds. While UMKC has been better than it showed on Saturday, it hasn't been by much, as it shoots 41.1 percent from the field for 61.9 ppg, 8.1 ppg less than its opponents. Staton (9.9 ppg) and Estan Tyler (9.8 ppg) are on the doorstep of the double-digit scorers club, while Chatmon shoots nearly 50 percent from the field and tallies 7.5 ppg and 7.7 rpg.
The Mavericks never had a chance in their last bout, as South Dakota torched them by shooting 57.6 percent from the floor, including 11-of-21 from 3-point range. Making the most of the blowout loss was John Karhoff, who logged 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Justin Simmons added 13 points and three steals in the setback, while Alex Phillips chipped in 11 points. Omaha's offensive attack (43.3 FG percentage, 64.9 ppg) has been completely neutralized by its lackluster play at the defensive end of the court, as opponents put up nearly 83 ppg on a lofty 48.7 percent from the field this season. In addition to porous defensive play, it also regularly gets outrebounded (minus-9.1 rebounding margin) and commits more than 16 turnovers per game. Simmons paces the squad with 12.9 ppg, while Karhoff nets 11.7 ppg.
Omaha proved against South Dakota that the home court advantage doesn't mean much if you can't stop anyone from scoring. UMKC's shooting struggles should be able to right itself in this matchup.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UMKC 78, Nebraska Omaha 67
12/31 10:31:46 ET
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