Wichita State stays perfect in MVC final
St. Louis, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - Fred VanVleet scored 22 points and No. 2 Wichita State stayed perfect with an 83-69 win over Indiana State in the championship bout of the Missouri Valley Conference.
Tekele Cotton had 20 points and Ron Baker gave 14 for the Shockers (34-0), who tied the 1990-91 UNLV squad for the longest winning streak to begin a campaign and have won their past nine games by double digits.
"I think this is going to be one of the biggest celebrations in Wichita that we've had in a long time," said Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall.
Justin Gant and Manny Arop each had 18 points for the Sycamores (23-10), who had entered the conference tournament having dropped three straight, but then won their next two to get to the final.
"When we hit some shots and started getting closer we knew we had time to get the lead back, but they just kept hitting tough shots and you have to give them credit," said Gant.
Holding a 10-point lead to start the second half, the Shockers got a layup from VanVleet and three-point play by Baker to start the second half.
Indiana State rallied and made it a four-point game, and a pair of free throws from Jake Odum near the midway mark of the half cut the deficit to 55-50.
Wichita State, though, scored the next 13 points, with VanVleet capping the run on consecutive 3-pointers for a 68-50 lead with just under six minutes to play.
The Sycamores didn't roll over, though, and a 3-pointer from Lucas Eitel made it a 75-67 game with 2 1/2 minutes to play, but the Shockers scored the next six points to put the game out of reach.
Holding a one-point lead early in the first half, Wichita State scored 11 straight points to take a 23-11 win on a Chadrack Lufile layup with 9 1/2 minutes to play.
Arop hit a 3-pointer inside a minute to play for the final points of the first half, and Wichita State took a 39-29 lead into the break.
It was Wichita State's first tournament title since 1987, and third overall ... The Shockers' last loss came in the Final Four last year against eventual- champion Louisville ... Wichita State leads the series with Indiana State, 54-29 ... Wichita State shot 45 percent, while Indiana State made 41.1 percent of its attempts.