The UMKC men’s basketball squad got some big-time performances from Martez Harrison, Thaddeus Smith and Darius Austin on Sunday afternoon, and pulled out a 73-70 double-overtime road victory over Indiana State.
Harrison tallied a career-high 34 points with eight assists (29 of his 34 came in the second half and OT), Smith tied a school record with seven blocks and had a career-best 12 rebounds, and Austin had career-bests with 15 points and 13 boards.
“After going three overtimes (against UIW), we’d been there, and they looked confident in the huddle. Tez (Harrison) was very, very good for us. He made some big and timely shots and goes to the free throw and makes those as well. It was a great team effort.” Head Coach Kareem Richardson said. “This was Thad’s (Smith) best game for us, and we need him to play defense and rebound like that. Darius got off to a great start and kept us in it in the first half, and both of those guys did a great job on the boards.”
The ‘Roos (5-9) jumped out to a quick three-point lead in the early moments of the first half, but Indiana State (4-8) started to take advantage of some UMKC turnovers in the middle portion of the period, getting some transition points.
The Sycamores pushed that lead to as many as 10 with 4:49 to play in the half, but UMKC closed the period strong. The ‘Roos scored the next 11 points, sparked by back-to-back threes from Austin, and capped by a Collin Jennings three to go ahead 29-28 with 1:39 left.
The two squads would go into the break tied at 29, even with ISU shooting 58 percent and UMKC hitting only 39 percent from the floor. It was a 17-9 rebound edge for the ‘Roos that made the difference.
The rest of the game was as tight as could be, with neither team leading by more than four points until overtime. The ‘Roos took a 50-49 lead on a layup by Harrison with 3:23 to play, before the Sycamores scored the next five points to make it a four-point advantage with 2:38 left. After a Harrison three, ISU put it back up to three with 1:03 on the clock, setting the stage for Harrison once again. He delivered with another three with 13 seconds left to tie it at 56, and the ‘Roos forced a guarded jumper to miss, and go to overtime.
In the first OT, UMKC built its lead to five with 1:50 left, but the Sycamores fought back to tie it at 62 with 54 seconds left on a pair of free throws from Brenton Scott. Both teams got chances with the ball on offense in the final two possessions, but neither could score, sending the ‘Roos to their second multiple OT game in the last three games.
The ‘Roos led the entire second OT, with Harrison scoring their first eight points. They went up four with 21 seconds left on a pair of Harrison charities, before ISU answered with a three on the other end with 12 seconds left. Freshman Deshon Taylor calmly hit both of his free throws to push it back to a three-point game, and both teams fouled in the final four seconds with each hitting one to seal the UMKC win.
“It was huge for us, after losing those last two, to come back with this type of fight and fortitude was tremendous and I think it’s going to be a huge step for us.” Richardson said.
UMKC held the Sycamores to 28 percent in the second half and 30 percent shooting in overtime, while out-rebounding them by a 45-31 margin on the night. The 45 rebounds matched the most for UMKC in the Richardson era.
The 34 points by Harrison was the most for a UMKC player since Dane Brumagin dropped 35 on February 10, 2007 against Centenary. He became the 11th player in UMKC history to score 30 in two different games as well. Smith’s seven blocks tied David Robinson, who set the UMKC record in 1991 against Wright State. Also in double-figures scoring in the game was Frank Williams, who had 10 on 4-of-8 shooting.
The five non-conference wins are the most for UMKC since tallying six during the 2011-12 season. UMKC will play on Tuesday in Buffalo, New York against Canisius at 6:00 p.m. CT.