Wichita, KS (SportsNetwork.com) - Ron Baker scored 15 points, Darius Carter added 14 and No. 16 Wichita State held off upset-minded Illinois State, 70-62, on Sunday.
Wichita State (12-2, 2-0 MVC) recorded its 20th consecutive Missouri Valley Conference win and 24th in row at home, but not without being tested.
The Redbirds stayed competitive even though they shot 36.5 percent from the floor. They were within two with under four minutes left, but the Shockers, who made 52.3 percent of their shots, pulled away with a 10-3 run.
Daishon Knight carried the offensive load for Illinois State (8-6, 0-2), totaling 24 points on 10-of-23 shooting.
Wichita State led most of the first half and went into the break with a 29-23 advantage after Tekele Cotton beat the shot clock with a mid-range jumper in the waning seconds.
Cotton's 3-pointer appeared to give the Shockers some breathing room with 5 1/2 minutes left, but buckets by Knight and Will Ransom shrunk the deficit back to one possession at 55-52.
An alley-oop slam by Cotton off an inbounds pass lit a fire under the home fans, only for Knight to silence them with a 3-pointer the next time down.
Illinois State called a timeout after Knight's momentum-killing bucket, but the Shockers regrouped on the bench and took over down the stretch.
Fred VanVleet drilled a 3-pointer out of the break, Shaquille Morris scored on the right block and Wichita State made 8-of-10 from the foul line over the final two minutes to preserve the victory.
VanVleet and Cotton both finished with 12 points ... Illinois State trailed at halftime just once in its previous 13 games ... The Redbirds owned a 32-27 rebounding advantage thanks to 14 offensive boards ... Wichita State has won six straight meetings.