KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jay Couisnard scored a career-best 32 points to lead UMKC to an 82-76 victory over Southern Utah on Saturday night.
Couisnard went 11 of 16 from the floor, including 4 of 6 from 3-point range, for the Kangaroos (9-7, 2-3 Summit). Spencer Johnson had 21 points and a team-leading six rebounds.
UMKC shot 58.3 percent (28 of 48) and went a season-best 60.0 percent (9 of 15) from 3-point territory.
Matt Massey's 24 points and eight rebounds led the Thunderbirds (4-11, 1-4). Jackson Stevenett added 17 points, Ryan Brimley 12 and Ray Jones 11.
After breaking a 4-4 tie early in the game, UMKC stayed in control the rest of the way. The first-half gap topped out at 35-18, and the Kangaroos led 41-34 at halftime.
"You can't get down that far and have to keep making that kind of run to get back into it, especially on the road," SUU Coach Roger Reid pointed out. "Give our guys credit, we battled and fought to get back into it in the first half, but then we came out at the beginning of the second half just like we started the game. We made another comeback, but we need to make those baskets when its early in the game, or when its close, and not keep having to make comebacks."
Couisnard's layup stretched the lead to 73-58 with 3:30 left before the Thunderbirds pared the deficit to 79-74 but could get no closer.
Southern Utah wound up shooting 50 percent from the floor, 28-of-56, but UMKC finished the night at 58.3 percent after hitting 28-of-48 shots, including 9-of-15 3-pointers.
"One of our goals is to hold teams to 42 percent [shooting]," Reid noted. "We came into the game with a game plan to limit their shooting and to limit their threes but they wound up hitting nine. We didn't accomplish that goal and we didn't match their energy, particularly early in the game."