Brandon McKissic and Kansas City picked up the best win in the WAC's non-conference slate with a dominating performance against Toledo on Tuesday night. Courtesy Kansas City Athletics.

Second Half Collapses Have Mixed Results for Roos, Aggies on Tuesday

For Kansas City and New Mexico State, the second half of their respective games were eerily similar. Both teams had big leads at halftime. Both teams looked in control. And both teams gave away those big leads. Fortunately for New Mexico State, Denver wasn’t able to finish off the comeback.

However, for Kansas City, it was an ugly second half in which McNeese State outscored the Roos, 50-32, en route to the 82-73 win. It is the first time all season that Kansas City has lost a game when leading at the half. 

Here is the breakdown of the second half for both games.

Cowboys Smother Roos in Second Half

And that’s putting it mildly. McNeese State held Kansas City to 34 percent shooting and just 22 percent from 3-point land. Compare that with the Roos shooting 52 percent from the field in the first half and 50 percent from 3-point range and you get the picture.

McNeese State’s 50 second-half points are the most points the Roos have given up in a half this season. The worst part of that stat is that 18 of those points came at the free throw line. McNeese State was 18-28 from the free throw line in the second half and 24-38 at the charity stripe for the entire game. In fact, the Cowboys made more free throws than Kansas City attempted. The Roos were 17-23 from the free throw line.

Shamarkus Kennedy finished with a triple-double for the Cowboys with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 10 blocks. Jahsire Hardnett led the Roos in scoring with 16 points. Marvin Nesbitt Jr. and Javan White were both in double figures for the Roos with 14 and 10 points, respectively.

Kansas City is still looking for its first road win of the season. The Roos are 0-5 in true road games and 2-1 in neutral site games. The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Roos as they face No. 2 Kansas on Saturday at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.

Aggie Struggles to Hold Onto Late-Game Leads Continue Despite Win

Against Southern University, New Mexico State had a 13-point lead with 6:08 to play. The Jaguars cut the deficit to six with 3:10 to play before the Aggies put the game away with a few big baskets and free throws in the 79-63 win. Against in-state rival New Mexico, the Aggies had a 75-71 lead with 2:22 to play before falling 78-77 to the Lobos at home. Against George Mason in the Cayman Islands Classic, the Aggies had a 35-23 lead. However, the Patriots outscored the Aggies 45-29 in the second half to win the Cayman Islands Classic.

In the second game against UTEP, the Aggies had a 7-point lead with just over six minutes to play. Fortunately, for the Aggies, the Miners never got over the hump and C.J. Bobbit hit free throws down the stretch or the 59-56 win.

And on Tuesday night, the late-game struggles continued. New Mexico State led 37-28 at halftime at Denver in the WAC/Summit League Challenge. Jabari Rice’s dunk gave the Aggies a 54-39 lead with 8:50 to play. Should have been game over at that point. 

But the Pioneers used a 28-18 run from that point on to make it a ball game. Ade Murkey hit two free throws with 18 seconds left to make it a 70-67 game.

New Mexico State guard Shunn Buchanan (with ball) hit a pair of big free throws to help the Aggies fend off a huge comeback by Denver on Tuesday night. Courtesy New Mexico State Athletics.

However, Shunn Buchanan iced the game with a pair of free throws to give the Aggies a 72-67 win. The problem is that it never should have gotten to that point.

“We were up by double figures for quite some time, and we just couldn’t put (Denver) away,” Jans said in the post game press conference. “Certainly, you gotta give them credit for not going away, but a lot of it was us just being silly. We fouled them at least three times in the last couple minutes away from the basket and let them score with time not moving.”

“We’ve gotta be better … we’ve gotta be smarter. The biggest issue for me, right now, is our turnovers … tonight we had 19 turnovers and it’s disappointing … if we’re going to be a good basketball team we certainly got to shoot better but more importantly, we gotta take care of the ball.”

The good news is that the Aggies finally picked up a road win. It’s the first road win of the season for the Aggies.

But, finishing games when you have a big lead is going to be key going forward for New Mexico State. This is especially true with the rematch against in-state rival New Mexico looming on Saturday. 

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