No. 24 Wichita St. 73, Missouri St. 58

When 7-foot center Garrett Stutz was 4 of 20 from beyond the

3-point line this season, Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall heard

the criticism.

”People argued he shouldn’t be shooting 3s,” Marshall said.

”I told them it just wasn’t a big enough sample size.”

No one will be arguing after Wednesday night, when Stutz went 4

of 4 on 3-pointers attempts and scored 21 points to lead No. 24

Wichita State to its fifth straight victory, 73-58 over Missouri

State.

Stutz, who was 7 of 8 from the field and grabbed 10 rebounds,

said his long-range shooting surprised him, too.

”I was awful in warmups, honestly,” he said. ”I was hoping

nobody was paying attention.”

The Shockers (23-4, 14-2), who were playing their first game as

a ranked team since 2006-07, clinched at least a tie for the

Missouri Valley Conference title. Ben Smith had 14 points and David

Kyles added 12 for Wichita State, 10 coming in a decisive

second-half run.

Wichita State has won 13 of 14, the only loss coming in

triple-overtime at Drake.

Anthony Downing had 17 points and Caleb Patterson added 14 for

Missouri State (16-12, 9-7), which had a three-game winning streak

snapped.

Wichita State had twice as many turnovers as Missouri State and

took 22 fewer shots. But the Shockers shot 59.5 percent.

”They just have so many different pieces,” Bears coach Paul

Lusk said. ”And they’re unbelievable in transition.”

Wichita State led by as many as 10 points in the first half but

Missouri State closed the half on a 12-4 run to trail 34-32.

Kyles scored 10 points and had two 3-pointers in less than 3

minutes during the 15-3 run that gave Wichita State a 56-42 lead

with 10:17 remaining. The Bears never threatened after that.

Wichita State made 8 of 9 shots during one first-half stretch,

and Stutz hit three 3-pointers in helping build a 30-20 lead.

”Stutz gives them a guy they can always throw it inside to,”

Lusk said. ”When he goes out and hits 3s, what are you going to

do?”

Consecutive 3-pointers from Downing and Nathan Scheer sparked a

12-2 run that pulled Missouri State even at 32-all with 35 seconds

to play in the half. Two free throws by Kyles gave Wichita State a

slim 34-32 halftime lead despite shooting 60 percent.

”Our guys hung in there,” Lusk said. ”We fought hard,

battled.”

Stutz scored two quick baskets on a tip-in and dunk, and

Demetric Williams swished a transition 3-pointer. Just 92 seconds

into the half, the Shockers led 41-32 and forced a Missouri State

timeout.

But the Bears went on another run to stay close, as Isaiah

Rhine’s baseline jumper giving Missouri State seven straight points

to get within two.

The Shockers answered with 3-pointers from Williams and Kyles,

followed by a layup by Kyles off a steal by Joe Ragland – eight

straight points in 60 seconds to put Wichita State ahead 49-39 with

12:39 remaining.

”We found our rhythm,” Smith said. ”Our emotions have been

pretty good, and we found good shots.”

Kyles made a contested 3-pointer and weaved his way through

traffic for a transition floater with 10:17 to play, increasing the

lead to 56-42.

Kyles had 10 points in less than 3 minutes, a point better than

his season average.

”I thought our press was very effective,” Marshall said. ”It

helped turn the tempo in our favor.”

Three-pointers from Ragland and Stutz in an 18-second span made

it 64-47 with 6:48 remaining.

Kyle Weems, Missouri State’s leading scorer, had 10 points (six

below his average) on 4-of-14 shooting.

”Ben did a great job on Weems,” Marshall said. ”That was

huge. And to add 14 points when you’re working that hard on the

other end, he was great.”