No. 14 Wichita State (17-2, 7-0 MVC) knocked down 11 3-pointers and out-rebounded home standing Missouri State by 16 in a 76-53 Shockers’ win here Wednesday before a season-best crowd of 8,674 at JQH Arena.
Starting guards Fred VanVleet, Ron Baker and Tekele Cotton each scored 15 for WSU, which became the first Valley team since 1924 to win 25 straight league games. The Shockers also got 14 points from Darius Carter to improve to 6-1 on the road this season.
Missouri State (8-11, 2-5) got 10 points apiece from Chris Kendrix and Dorrian Williams with Tyler McCullough adding 8, and Loomis Gerring ripping down a game-high 6 rebounds.
The Bears kept things close in the early going with 11 lead changes in the first 10 minutes. But, the Shockers gained separation at the foul line, using charity shots by Rashard Kelly and VanVleet to turn a narrow 17-16 advantage into a 21-16 lead with 7 minutes left in the opening half.
The Shockers dropped in three 3-pointers from there and pushed ahead by 10 briefly on Cotton’s long bomb at the 3-minute mark.
However, the Bears were game and retaliated with a dunk by Gerring, a trey by Williams and a jumper from the elbow by Ruder to get back within 37-33 before VanVleet beat the buzzer on a running one-hander to make it a 39-33 game at the intermission.
The Shockers scored the first four points of the second half to gain a double-figure advantage again, 43-33. The Bears fought back within 8 points four times over the next five minutes, but could not close the gap the rest of the night.
With 13:10 to go, Baker started a Wichita State scoring flurry with third trey of the night as part of a 13-3 run in a four-minute span to push Gregg Marshall’s club up 60-42 with 9 minutes remaining.
Missouri State went the final 5 minutes, 4 seconds without a field goal down the stretch, allowing WSU to extend the final margin beyond 20 points.
For the game, Wichita State finished 11-for-21 (.448) from 3-point range with six different players splashing home shots from beyond the arc, while the visitors out-rebounded the Bears by a 40-24 margin. The Shockers snagged 17 offensive boards to maintain long possessions and run the clock, but MSU held Wichita State to just 12 second-chance points.
Missouri State matched the Shockers with 22 points in the paint and hit 40 percent (20-for-50) of its shots – the Bears’ best shooting effort since Jan. 3. The Bears also blocked 7 shots and notched a season-best with just 5 turnovers against Wichita’s pressure defense.
The Bears finished just 2-of-10 from beyond the arc and hit a season-low 57.9 percent from the free throw line, converting 11-of-19 foul shots.
The Bears take to the road Saturday for a 7 p.m., game at Bradley (6-14, 1-6)