GAMES NOTES: As part of BracketBusters weekend the UMKC Kangaroos will travel
to the Eblen Center for a non-conference bout with the Tennessee Tech Golden
Eagles on Saturday night.
The Kangaroos wrapped up their final homestand of the season last Saturday
with an 86-74 setback against Oakland. The loss was the seventh in the last
eight games for the Kangaroos who are a dismal 7-21 overall this season
including a 4-10 mark against fellow Summit League members. UMKC will get back
to conference play with road tests against Western Illinois and IUPUI next
Tennessee Tech opened a four-game homestand, that continues Saturday, with an
83-68 rout of intrastate rival Tennessee-Martin on Thursday. The Golden Eagles
have been marginally better overall as compared to the Kangaroos (10-16) but
they own an identical 4-10 record against the Ohio Valley Conference. Tests
against Murray State and Morehead State will finish out the regular season for
These teams played in four straight seasons from 1988-1992. In that time the
Eagles earned victories in three of four total meetings.
A sluggish start had UMKC trying to dig itself out of an 18-point halftime
deficit against Oakland. The Kangaroos did shoot 62.1 percent from the field
in the final 20 minutes but were also outscored 19-5 from the free-throw line
UMKC is not one of the flagship teams of the Summit League for a reason. The
Kangaroos are near the bottom of the league in most offensive categories,
including scoring (61.9 pg), assists (9.9 pg) and field-goal percentage
(.426). On the other end the Kangaroos are letting up 72.1 points per game on
a less than ideal 48 percent from the field. Estan Tyler (11.3 ppg) is the
only consistent double-figure scorer on the roster, although Thomas Staton
(9.9 ppg) has shown flashes of ability. Staton had been struggling with just
12 combined points in five games before putting in 17 against Oakland. Tyler
meanwhile, has been in double figures in four of the last five outings.
Dennis Ogbe put up 23 points and Jud Dillard added 21 for Tennessee Tech in
its win over Tennessee-Martin. It was a team effort from the starting lineup
for the Golden Eagles, who got just nine points from the bench, while shooting
52.9 percent as a team.
The 23 points for Ogbe was an eruption by his standards as the 6-foot-7
forward is scoring only 10.3 points per game this season. He has turned it on
of late, scoring in double figures in eight of the last nine games. Less
surprising was the effort from Dillard (19.1 ppg, 7.8 rpg) who is the second
best scorer in the OVC as well as one of the league's best rebounders. The
Golden Eagles aren't fortunate enough to have many other consistent scorers
though. Jeremiah Samarrippas (9.8 ppg) and Lanerryl Johnson (7.3 ppg) each
shoot worse than 40 percent from the field as the only other players above six
points per game.
Neither of these teams can claim much success on the offensive end of the
floor. With Dillard though, the Golden Eagles have far and away the most
dangerous offensive threat in the contest and that should be enough.