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.