WICHITA, Kan. — Darius Carter scored 19 points to help No. 11 Wichita State survive Jeremy Ingram’s 37-point night in a 77-66 win over North Carolina Central on Sunday.
Cleanthony Early had 16 points and 10 rebounds as the Shockers (12-0) extended the best start in school history. Ron Baker scored 15 points for Wichita State and Fred VanVleet added 14.
North Carolina Central (7-3) was outrebounded 37-22, including a 15-3 disparity on the offensive glass. Ingram was 12 of 21 from the floor and 7 of 13 from the 3-point line. He scored 27 points in the second half.
While there certainly wasn’t panic, there was some concern for Wichita State a few minutes into that second half.
It wasn’t just that Ingram, one of the nation’s leading scorers, was heating up, it’s that he was doing it against Tekele Cotton, the Shockers’ top defender.
Ingram had a four-point play 16 seconds into the half and drew another foul on Cotton while scoring less than two minutes later.
When Ingram hit a 3-pointer with 16:59 remaining to get the Eagles within 44-36, he already had 10 points in the half, 20 in the game, and had cut Wichita State’s 16-point halftime lead in half.
The Eagles did not score again for four minutes but stayed within striking distance. Ingram scored five straight points, and the Shockers led 54-46 with 8:21 remaining.
It was still an eight-point game when Early hit a transition 3-pointer and Baker followed with a steal that led to VanVleet’s layup that made it 66-53 Wichita State with 4:57 to play.
But Ingram continued to make it interesting. His deep 3 with 3:10 remaining pulled North Carolina Central within 68-60.
The Eagles had it down to seven, 70-63, when Wichita State patiently worked the shot clock and found Baker in the corner. He swished a 3-pointer for a 73-63 lead with 1:40 remaining.
When the Shockers forced a steal on the other end, leading to Early’s dunk, Wichita State could finally relax.
Ingram kept the Eagles in the game early. His 3-pointer with 7:06 remaining in the half gave him 10 points and cut Wichita State’s lead to 21-19.
The Shockers then took control with a 15-0 run. Baker started the spurt with a 3-pointer, and Carter scored six of the points on two dunks and a short floater.
Wichita State’s run pushed the lead to 36-19 with 2:22 left in the half. Chadrack Lufile’s putback to beat the buzzer gave the Shockers a 40-24 halftime advantage.
The Shockers outrebounded North Carolina Central 23-11 in the half. Carter and Early each scored 11 first-half points for Wichita State.