UMKC (1-2) vs. Norfolk State (2-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, November 18, 11:30 a.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Mohegan Sun Arena (10,000) -- Uncasville, Connecticut. Television: None. Home Record: UMKC 1-0, Norfolk State 0-0. Away Record: UMKC 0-1, Norfolk State 2-1. Neutral Record: UMKC 0-1, Norfolk State 0-1. Conference Record: UMKC 0-0, Norfolk State 0-0. Series Record: Series is tied, 1-1.
GAME NOTES: The UMKC Kangaroos and the Norfolk State Spartans meet at Mohegan Sun Arena on Sunday in a consolation game of the 2012 Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic.
Leading up to this tournament, UMKC played a pair of games with very different outcomes. It was completely overmatched on the road against Seton Hall, losing 75-36, then it won its home opener against Lincoln University in convincing fashion, 99-64. The Roos' opening-round matchup against Albany fell right in the middle as it was a hard-fought game, but they landed on the wrong side of a 62-59 decision.
Norfolk State has had an up and down season, as it has yet to win or lose back-to-back games. The Spartans posted impressive wins on the road versus Rhode Island (67-55) and at home against Longwood (78-66) leading up to the tournament before dropping their first-round matchup against Loyola-Maryland, 65-49.
The teams have split two games in the series, with UMKC winning most recently in 2003.
UMKC trailed by as many as 11 points with just over five minutes to play against Albany, but it managed to scratch and claw its way back to make it a one possession game in the final minute, but it could never overtake the lead. The Roos dug themselves a hole against Albany with their poor shooting, as they managed to connected on just 34.6 percent of their field goal attempts, although half of those came from beyond the arc (9-of-22). Estan Tyler did all he could to help his team advance, shooting 5-of-8 from the floor, including 3-of-4 from three-point range, for 17 points while also dishing out a team- high six assists. Kirk Korver was right on Tyler's heels with 16 points, but his field goal percentage wasn't nearly as impressive (3-of-11). Korver is the team's leading scorer through three games (13.0 ppg) and he has hit half his three-pointers (8-of-16). Nate Rogers rounded out with double-digit scorers for the Roos with 10 points.
It has not been a strong start to the year shooting wise for Norfolk State, as it is connecting on just 39 percent of its field goal attempts through four games, and Saturday's effort against Loyola was no different. The Spartans made just 35.8 percent of their shots and committed just as many turnovers (19) as field goals (19) as they trailed for nearly the entire game. Pendarvis Williams is the team's leading scorer on the season (14.3 ppg), and he tallied a team-high 14 points the last time out, but he's shooting less than 40 percent from the field. Williams' has been nearly automatic from the foul line however, nailing 19-of-21 free throws. Malcolm Hawkins scored 12 points and drained a pair of three-pointers, and Rashid Gaston added 11 points, eight boards and two blocks.
Both teams will be looking to at least get one win out of this trip to Connecticut. Norfolk State has been a spotty shooting team at best this season, but it still have a more talented squad that UMKC and should be able to pull out the win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Norfolk State 65, UMKC 60
11/18 10:45:40 ET