No. 3 Wichita State tops Drake 83-54 to stay perfect
WICHITA, Kan. --Tekele Cotton had 21 points, Darius Carter came off the bench to score 15 and No. 3 Wichita State pounded Drake 83-54 on Saturday night.
Wichita State (29-0, 16-0 Missouri Valley Conference) is the first team to start 29-0 since Illinois in 2004-05 and is two wins away from a perfect regular season.
Fred VanVleet scored 15 for the Shockers, who cut down the nets after the game to celebrate their Missouri Valley championship.
Wichita State cruised despite leading scorer Cleanthony Early being held to a season-low three points and Ron Baker only scoring six, less than half his season average.
Daddy Ugbede scored 14 points, Jordan Daniels had 13 and Aaron Hawley 10 for Drake (14-14, 5-11), which had more turnovers (20) than field goals (18).
In the deciding portion of the game, only halftime provided the Bulldogs some respite.
Wichita State wrapped a 31-4 run around the break, an onslaught so complete that the Shockers completed the 14-1 portion to start the second half without Drake even attempting a field goal.
After trailing early, the Bulldogs held the Shockers scoreless for over 3 minutes, going on a 9-0 run capped by Hawley's backdoor layup for a 15-14 lead with 9:18 remaining in the first half.
To make matters worse for Wichita State, Early was on the bench with two fouls and Baker soon joined him with his second.
But Wichita State started the game-turning run behind Carter, who scored four straight before the Shockers started a parade of baskets at the rim.
VanVleet and Cotton had layups. Cotton and Nick Wiggins had back-to-back slams. VanVleet's 3-pointer helped Wichita State lead 31-18 at halftime.
The Shockers roll only gained momentum to start the second half.
After Drake's Seth VanDeest made a free throw, Wichita State scored 14 straight.
Cotton and Carter converted three-point plays to get it started and Carter had another slam.
And Kadeem Coleby and VanVleet stuck in offensive rebounds, bringing roars from the crowd.
The Shockers led 45-19 with 16:35 remaining.
Hawley ended the run with a 3-pointer 15 seconds later, the Bulldogs' first shot attempt of the half.
After that, the Shockers could sub liberally and soon start celebrating an outright Missouri Valley title, actually clinched earlier in the day when Indiana State lost.