MOSCOW, Idaho -- Nelson Kirksey scored 20 points and UMKC hung on to beat Idaho 80-74 in a Western Athletic Conference nail-biting opener and first ever meeting for both schools on Thursday night.
UMKC, (4-9, 1-0 WAC), playing in their first WAC season, led the Vandals 40-32 at intermission but forfeited the lead to Idaho on a Glen Dean Layup with 12:11 remaining making it 58-56.
The game stayed close with several lead changes down the stretch before UMKC went up 72-69 after Stephen Madison missed two free throws for Idaho (6-9, 0-1 WAC) and the Kangaroos' Caleb Johnson dunked the ball with 2:02 remaining. It was all the spread UMKC need as the Kangaroos held on over the final seconds to pull out a six point victory.
Madison led Vandal scorers with 20 points who as a team shot 48 percent from the field.
Mississippi State freshman guard Malik Newman will withdraw from the NBA draft, but sources told ESPN he might explore other opportunities besides returning to Mississippi State.
Seton Hall sophomore Isaiah Whitehead will stay in the NBA draft and not return for his junior season.
Washington State's trio of Josh Hawkinson, Conor Clifford and Ike Iroegbu have withdrawn from the NBA draft and will play their senior season with the Cougars.