GAME NOTES: The UMKC Kangaroos hit the road in search of better results as they tangle with the South Dakota Coyotes in a Summit League tilt at the DakotaDome.
The Kangaroos dropped their ninth contest in a row on Wednesday when Utah Valley defeated them in Kansas City. The losing streak, which began on Dec. 8, has dropped UMKC to 4-13 overall, which includes its 1-4 Summit League ledger. The Kangaroos have been plagued by slow starts which have caused them to go into halftime trailing in each of the last nine games. They fell to 0-12 on the season when trailing at the break, as they went on to drop a 78-66 decision to Utah Valley at home.
John Burke led the 'Roos with 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting, but he only saw 17 minutes of action. Thomas Staton and Nelson Kirksey netted 10 points apiece while Aaron Washington tallied eight points and five assists. Staton is the team-leader in scoring with 10.8 points per outing. Estan Tyler is second with an even 10 per contest.
South Dakota and UMKC met for the first time last season, and it was the Coyotes who emerged with two double-digit triumphs. USD won, 76-57, in Kansas City before picking up a 79-63 decision in Vermillion behind back-to-back double-doubles by big man Trevor Gruis, a junior who is averaging 11 points and six boards this season.
South Dakota will be honoring coach Dave Boots prior to this game, as he guided the team to 74-71 victory over South Dakota State last Saturday to notch his 500th career win. The decision snapped a two-game slide and helped the Coyotes inch back toward the .500 mark. Despite the losing overall record, South Dakota is 3-2 in Summit League play, which places it just two games behind Western Illinois and North Dakota State's first-place tie. South Dakota will be playing five of its next six games on the road.
Scoring hasn't been much of an issue for South Dakota which checks in at 70.9 points per game. However, the defensive effort has been another story as the Coyotes are getting lit up for 74.9 points per game on 44.8 percent shooting. South Dakota's leader is Juevol Myles (15.3 ppg, 3.2 apg, 1.6 apg) who leads the team in scoring, assists and steals. However, Myles has been a less-than- consistent scorer as he shoots at just a 38.4 percent clip from the floor, but he is coming off a 22-point outing to make it three games in a row in double figures. Gruis and Karim Rowson (10.5 ppg) provide complementary options.
The Coyotes picked up a huge win over the defending league champions the last time out. A loss to the struggling 'Roos would be a huge letdown, but it does not seem likely as South Dakota showed it can defeat Summit League foes even with Myles struggling.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: South Dakota 67, UMKC 60
01/12 11:04:24 ET
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