Shockers Cap Unbeaten Title Run With 68-45 Win Over Bears
 
Jarmar Gulley
 
Jarmar Gulley
 

March 1, 2014

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WICHITA, Kan. – Cleanthony Early scored 19 points and grabbed 6 rebounds to help No. 2 Wichita State (31-0, 18-0) to a 68-45 win over Missouri State (19-11, 9-9) here Saturday in the regular-season finale for both squads.  With the victory, the Shockers capped a perfect run through the Missouri Valley Conference season.

With the loss, the Bears will secure the No. 4 seed for next week's MVC Tournament in St. Louis and square off with Illinois State (16-14, 9-9) in the quarterfinals at 2:35 p.m., Friday.

Missouri State got 15 points from Jarmar Gulley, who snagged 5 rebounds, and 8 points from Ron Mvouika off the bench.  Missouri State shot just 16-for-51 (.314) from the field and was out-rebounded 43-25, with the larger Shockers securing 30 points in the paint.

After trailing by 18 at the intermission, MSU played even early in the second half and was able to get some shots to fall with Gulley and Dorrian Williams rallying the visitors with a pair of long shots before the second media timeout. A steal and layup by Austin Ruder made it a 16-point game, and with 7:01 left in the contest, the Bears had played an even 17-17 second half with the nation’s No. 2-ranked squad.

However, before the final break of the afternoon, the Shockers reeled off 8 unanswered points and eventually by as many as 29 – their largest advantage of the contest.

The Bears ended the game on a 6-0 run with Nathan Scheer, Bruce Marshall and Devon Thomas scoring in the final 1:35.

“We had some opportunities in the second half, but we really couldn’t get into a rhythm,” said Bears head coach Paul Lusk. “But, credit to Wichita, they were locked in, and they just are so physical, they got what they wanted.”

In the first half, WSU converted seven of its first eight shots and used a 14-2 run over a five-minute stretch to open up a 16-point advantage out of the gates. A pair of free throws by Darius Carter made it a 24-10 game with just over 9 minutes left in the opening period with the Shockers getting to the line 9 times and snagging 5 offensive boards to that point.

MSU’s Thomas ended the run with a layup to make it 24-10, but the home club responded with a 9-2 outburst to push ahead by a 33-12 count with just over two-and-a-half minutes remaining.

Mvouika gave the Bears a spark with a traditional 3-point play at the 2:29 mark, and then Tyler McCullough scored on a layup with just over 2 minutes to go that made it a 35-17 contest.  Missouri State scored on a pair of buckets by Gulley in the final minute of the opening stanza to make it a 31-29 contest at the break.

MSU matched a season-low with just 21 points in the opening period and set a season low with 45 overall. 

For the game, WSU had 31 free throw attempts, making 19 (.613) and finished 22-for-43 (.512) from the field and 5-of-18 (.278) from bonus distance.  Ron Baker scored 13, and Darius Carter added 10 for the Shockers.

MSU finished 16-for-51 (.314) from the field, 4-of-18 (.222) from downtown and 9-of-16 (.563) at the line. The Bears committed just 9 turnovers.

Missouri now heads into Arch Madness for the 2014 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament in St. Louis, March 6-9 at Scottrade Center.


 

 

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