St. Louis, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - Fred VanVleet scored 13 points to lead No. 8 Wichita State over Southern Illinois 56-45 in the quarterfinals of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament on Friday.
Tekele Cotton added 12 points and Ron Baker scored 10 for the top-seeded Shockers (28-3), who will take on Illinois State in the semifinal round on Saturday.
Jalen Pendleton scored 12 points and grabbed six rebounds for the Salukis (12-21), who gave the Shockers a run for their money in the early going, but failed to pull off the upset.
Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall said his team didn't play well.
"I thought (Salukis coach Barry Hinson) had a good game plan," he said. "We defended very well. Just glad to move on."
The Shockers fell behind early, but rallied late in the first half to grab control. Behind 15-11 after a Pendleton layup just about 12 minutes into the game, Wichita State ended the half by scoring 17 of the final 22 points to take control.
Cotton's three-pointer at the 6:10 mark put the Shockers ahead and Baker's trey with 1:18 remaining extended the lead to 10 points, 28-18, before going into the locker room with a 28-20 edge.
Cotton scored nine points during the run.
Wichita State continued to hold control in the second half, leading by as many as 17 points, 54-37, after a Zach Brown layup with 3:15 left.
Southern Illinois lost six of its last eight games this season ... Wichita State went 17-1 in the MVC regular season ... Southern Illinois committed 18 turnovers that turned into 17 points for Wichita State ... The Shockers outscored the Salukis 30-16 in the paint ... The Shockers shot 41.7 percent from the floor for the game, while Southern Illinois shot only 34 percent.