Northern Colorado coach B.J. Hill knew to beat No. 24 Wichita State, the Bears needed to contain bruiser Carl Hall inside.
Northern Colorado did that, holding Hall to two points and two rebounds, but Wichita State still coasted to an 80-54 victory Saturday night, helped by 12-of-24 shooting on 3-pointers.
"When you have bigger, stronger, more athletic guys driving the lane, it's going to force help," Hill said. "We knew that, and we knew we could live with them taking corner 3s. They just knocked them down."
Derrick Barden scored a game-high 19 points for Northern Colorado (1-6) while Emmanuel Ado added 11.
Wichita State (9-0) had four players in double figures for the first time this season, led by Cleanthony Early's 16 points. Nick Wiggins scored 14, Demetric Williams had 12 and Malcolm Armstead 11.
The Shockers played without two injured starters — center Ehimen Orupke and guard Evan Wessel — but matched the best start in school history.
Early played a big role.
"When I slow down," he said, "I can normally find my groove."
Early and the Shockers found it quickly, storming to a 14-2 lead as Early scored nine during the game-opening run.
"They just execute their offense so well," Hill said.
After the 14-2 run, junior college transfer Chadrick Lufile scored six straight Shockers points — matching his season high — to push the lead to 20-5 with 12:46 to play in the half.
Northern Colorado pulled to 23-13 after consecutive layups by Barden with 10:17 remaining in the half.
The Bears, though, did not score again for nearly six minutes. Three-point shots by Williams and Armstead helped the Shockers take advantage of the Northern Colorado drought and stretch the lead to 33-13. Wiggins, another junior college transfer, hit a 3-pointer that gave the Shockers a 38-19 halftime lead.
"It started being automatic in my brain," Wiggins said. "When we had someone drive, the side and corner 3s were wide open."
Bears opponents had been shooting just 32 percent from the 3-point line this season.
Northern Colorado did cause Wichita State a little consternation in the second half. Shockers turnovers fueled the Bears' 6-0 run and convinced Marshall to bench all five starters.
"We did not quit," Hill said. "If we had played like that against Northern Iowa, it would have been a closer game."
The Shockers' bench steadied things, as Wiggins hit a 3 and Tekele Cotton made two short jumpers to stretch the lead to 47-27 with 16:11 remaining. Northern Colorado did not get closer than 17 after that as Wichita State shot 56 percent from the floor.
With the victory in hand, Wichita State could turn its attention to a game Thursday at Tennessee.
"We knew 9-0 was the best start here," Marshall said. "We played good in spurts. But to be 10-0, we'll have to play a lot better than we did in the second half."
All 10 Wichita State players logged between 18-22 minutes.
"We've talked about building depth around here for years," Shockers coach Gregg Marshall said. "You do that so when you have a guy, or two, go down, you have options."