Tuscaloosa, AL (SportsNetwork.com) - Cleanthony Early poured in 26 points and 11th-ranked Wichita State continued its best start in school history with a 72-67 win over Alabama at Coleman Coliseum.
Fred VanVleet and Tekele Cotton both scored 11 for the Shockers (11-0), who are three victories shy of their all-time best winning streak, set during the 1953-54 season.
"I am very pleased to move to 11-0 against a very good team in a very difficult place to win," Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall said. "I know that firsthand. I've been here before and haven't had any success coming out with a victory."
The Shockers missed just two of their 27 foul shots and got a big offensive rebound and putback from Darius Carter in the final minute. VanVleet made two from the charity stripe with 11 seconds left to seal the outcome, after Retin Obasohan missed a 3-point shot for the Crimson Tide with his team down by three. Obasohan's shot hit off the rim and went over the backboard to give the ball back to the Shockers.
Trevor Releford had 22 points for Alabama (5-5), which also received 14 points from Rodney Cooper.
Wichita State, which has its highest regular-season ranking since the 2006-07 season when reaching No. 8 in Dec., 2006, scored the game's first seven points. Ron Baker's layup boosted the visitors to a 16-6 cushion 6:16 into the game.
Cooper's 3-pointer in the final minute of the half gave the Crimson Tide a 32-31 edge, but Cotton made two from the charity stripe to give the lead back to the Shockers at the break.
"They jumped on us. We had a lot of errors in the first half," Alabama coach Anthony Grant said.
In a tight second half, Alabama had its final lead at 56-53 on a Nick Jacobs dunk with 6:22 remaining. Baker responded with a 3-pointer and Early made two from the foul line.
Early's go-ahead two free throws, which made it 60-58 with 3:51 left, came after Releford's layup tied the score at 58.
Early made all 11 of his foul shots ... The Shockers held a 38-26 rebounding edge ... Wichita State hosts NC Central Sunday, while Alabama is home against Xavier a day earlier.