Seattle University couldn’t keep up, then couldn’t catch up.
The Redhawks fell behind early to sharpshooting Missouri-Kansas City in their first conference game Saturday, allowing a season-worst 11 three-pointers in a 95-84 loss at KeyArena that saw a furious second-half rally come up short.
Seattle U (8-6, 0-1 Western Athletic Conference) has lost three straight.
Coach Cameron Dollar lamented a passive start that led to his team trailing the final 35:36 of the game.
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“We’ve got to do a better job of just getting us to be aggressive and play — be a little looser,” Dollar said. “We just played a little tight, and we’ve been doing that here. We’ve been doing that more at home than we’ve done on the road, for sure. I don’t know the reasoning behind that, but it’s definitely evident.”
UMKC (5-9, 2-0) finished with five players in double-figure scoring, led by the 25 from senior forward Nelson Kirksey. He went 11 of 13 from the free-throw line, all in the second half. The Kangaroos, who beat Idaho in their conference opener Thursday, shot 58.3 percent from the field (28 of 48) to win back-to-back for the first time this season.
The Redhawks trailed by 11 at halftime and stumbled to start the second half, giving up a 9-0 run to the visitors. UMKC went on to lead by as many as 22, but Seattle U rallied behind swarming full-court pressure to cut the deficit to five when junior guard Emerson Murray hit two free throws with 1:18 to go.
The Kangaroos responded immediately with a three-point play by freshman guard Martez Harrison and then 11 straight free throws to seal the win. The 95 points were the most allowed by Seattle U this season.
The Redhawks, playing in front of 2,537 fans, fell to 0-5 this season when allowing more than 80 points.
Seattle guard Isiah Umipig said the UMKC shooting was “definitely a surprise … but a lot of threes were us missing guys in transition and not handling our assignments like we’re supposed to.”
Umipig, a Federal Way native, had a team-high 24 points and has scored in double figures in every game this season.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org.