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.
Four-star power forward Royce Hamm ended his recruitment on Friday with a commitment to head coach Shaka Smart and the Texas Longhorns after also considering Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Baylor and Houston among others.
Wisconsin's Nigel Hayes did his best Stone Cold Steve Austin impression and brought the pain to some fellow Badgers.
Avery Johnson's first season as a college coach was a success by most measures, and he'll aim to keep the Crimson Tide rolling in the right direction.