Wichita State (20-0, 7-0 Missouri Valley Conference) notched
its 16th double-digit victory of the season, thanks in large
part to the dichotomy in 3-point shooting. The Shockers shot
11-of-27 from behind the arc — including 6-of-9 by Early — while
the Redbirds (11-8, 4-3) were a hideous 1-of-25 from the 3-point
Early, who had scored only six points in each of the previous
two games, was joined in double figures by Ron Baker (15 points)
and Tekele Cotton (12). Daishon Knight's 12 points paced
Illinois State while Bobby Hunter chipped in 10 points.
After scoring 11 points in the first half, Early opened the
second-half scoring with a 3-pointer that tied the game at
28-28, sparking a 22-6 run to open the period. At one point
during the surge, the Shockers scored three points on three
straight possessions on a long-range shot by Baker, a 3-pointer
by Early and a three-point play by Fred VanVleet.
Wichita State extended its lead to 60-42 with under six minutes
to play, but Illinois State scored nine straight points — all by
John Jones and Knight — to make things temporarily interesting.
However, Early responded with his sixth 3-pointer and VanVleet
had a steal and layup as the Shockers held on.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Wichita State did not take its first lead until
Darius Carter's layup with about 1 1/2 minutes to go in the
first half, but Illinois State scored the next four points to
lead 28-25 at the break. ... Early had made just 7-of-26 3-point
attempts over his previous five games. ... The teams met earlier
this month with the Shockers posting a 66-47 home victory. That
game followed a similar recipe, as Wichita State was 9-of-22
from 3-point range that night while the Redbirds were 7-of-26.
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