Recap: Wichita State vs. Missouri State
Wichita, KS (SportsNetwork.com) - The colors of perfection are black and yellow.
Cleanthony Early led all scorers with 19 points to help No. 2 Wichita State complete a perfect regular season with a convincing 68-45 win over Missouri State in front of a sellout crowd at Koch Arena.
The Shockers (31-0, 18-0 MVC) are just the third team since 1990-91 to enter their conference tournament undefeated. UNLV (1990-91) went on to win the National Championship and Saint Joseph's (2003-04) lost in the Elite Eight.
"I'm very proud of these guys, how they've handled this," said WSU head coach Gregg Marshall. "Every day they come to work. They work extremely hard. They're great young men. They're fun to be around. They deserve to be 31-0."
Only six of Wichita State's 31 wins were decided by single digits.
Early shot 5-of-7 from the floor, Ron Baker added 13 points on eight shots and Darius Carter went for 10 points and eight boards in a reserve role in the triumph. Fred VanVleet, named one of 10 Naismith Award semi-finalists earlier in the week, matched MSU's assist total by himself with seven.
Jarmar Gulley netted 15 points for Missouri State (19-11, 9-9), which led by 19 points and took Wichita State to overtime the last time the two teams met on Jan. 11. The Bears never led in this one.
The Shockers took care of business on both sides of the floor early on, dominating the first half by shooting 12-of-21 (57.1 percent), while limiting the Bears to just 8-of-27 (29.6 percent).
WSU hit seven straight field goals after Baker missed a triple to open the contest, and it was 18-6 before the second media timeout. Nick Wiggins' putback after the short break sparked a 9-2 run, which Baker capped with his layup at 7:26.
Early scored six in the final five minutes of the period and Wichita took a commanding 39-21 edge into the locker rooms.
Austin Ruder's steal and layup 2 1/2 minutes into the second half cut the deficit to 43-27, but that was as close as the Bears got the rest of the way. Tekele Cotton followed Ruder's bucket with a 3-pointer, Baker knocked down a trey moments later and the Shockers weren't tested down the stretch.
Wichita State will have a first round bye in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament next week in Saint Louis.Game Notes
Wichita State improved to 34-30 all-time against Missouri State and has won
seven in a row in the series ... The Shockers finish unbeaten at Koch Arena
for the third time ... The Shockers won the rebounding margin 43-25. They
outrebounded 26-of-31 opponents this season ... Missouri State was held
without a fastbreak point.