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Wayne Nelson / Forum Communications , Published December 05 2012

Missed free throws haunt UND in men's basketball loss

GRAND FORKS – The University of North Dakota men’s basketball team’s past troubles at the free-throw line have been well documented.

This season, however, there hasn’t much of an issue with missed free throws – until Wednesday night.

UND struggled mightily at the line in falling to Missouri-Kansas City 73-70 before 1,549 fans at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. The loss dropped UND to 1-5, and it was the third straight game in which UND left the court on the wrong end of a nail-biter

Aaron Anderson’s 3-point attempt at the buzzer clanked off the left side of the rim and gave Kansas City its fourth straight win against UND. All four wins by the Kangaroos have been by eight points or less.

The glaring statistic, however, was UND’s performance at the free-throw line. North Dakota was 14-for-30 at the stripe. The second-most telling stat: UND was outrebounded 41-28.

“If you don’t make foul shots and you get outrebounded like that, you won’t win many games,” said UND coach Brian Jones. “And we didn’t guard the way we’re capable of guarding.”

Estan Tyler’s two free throws with 5.1 seconds left gave Kansas City – a Summit League team – a 73-70 lead. Kansas City called timeout to set its defense. But Anderson managed to launch a shot from 25 feet, one that was a little too strong.

UND has had rough endings in its last three games. Anderson’s 3-point attempt in the closing seconds at Hawaii was off the mark, allowing the Rainbow Warriors to hang on. At South Dakota State a week ago, the Jackrabbits – picked to win the Summit – beat UND on a buzzer-beater.

“We just have to keep working,” Jones said. “It’s confidence. We’ve lost some close games. They’re young men that thrive on confidence. And when you’ve lost some games, you don’t have as much swagger. If we would have won last week (at SDSU), our confidence level would have been different.”

Nate Rogers led Kansas City (4-4) with 16 points. He was one of five Kansas City players in double figures.

UND led 18-9 midway through the first half but Rogers’ shooting from the perimeter helped the Kangaroos forge a 37-33 lead at the break.

The Kangaroos later stretched that lead to 10 points and led by 61-52 with 11:12 left before UND managed to work its way back into the game.

But the Kangaroos did enough things right down the stretch. Kansas City also received a strong performance from Fred Chatmon, who finished with 10 points and 13 rebounds. Kansas City’s 14 offensive rebounds resulted in 14 second-chance points.

“Matt did a great job on the backboards,” Kansas City coach Matt Brown said. “That probably was the difference.”

UMKC (4-4): Rogers 6-10 0-0 16, Kirksey 4-7 2-5 10, Tyler 4-6 2-3 12, Staton 5-11 4-7 14, Chatmon 4-8 2-2 10, Burke 0-1 0-0 0, Wedel 1-2 0-0 2, Hall 2-6 1-2 6, Johnson 0-1 0-0 0, Reid 0-0 0-0 0, Korver 1-4 1-1 3. Totals 27-56 12-20 73.

UND (1-5): Anderson 3-8 4-7 11, Webb 9-11 0-6 20, Wilmer 1-2 1-3 3, Brekke 3-7 3-3 9, Schuler 2-9 4-6 10, Antwi 3-5 1-2 8, Benton 0-0 0-0 0, Allard 1-3 1-3 3, Archer 2-3 0-0 4, Traylor 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 25-50 14-30 70.

Halftime: UMKC 37, UND 33. 3-Point Goals: UMKC 7-17 (Rogers 4-8, Tyler 2-2, Hall 1-2, Johnson 0-1, Staton 0-1, Korver 0-3), UND 6-16 (Webb 2-3, Schuler 2-7, Antwi 1-2, Anderson 1-3, Archer 0-1). Fouled Out: Rogers. Rebounds_UMKC 41 (Chatmon 13), UND 28 (Brekke, Webb 7). Assists: UMKC 10 (Korver, Staton 3), UND 12 (Anderson, Webb 4). Total Fouls: UMKC 23, UND 19. A: 1,549.

Nelson is the sports editor for the Grand Forks Herald