WICHITA, Kan.- Freshman Fred VanVleet had a career high in points and assists to lead Wichita State past Drake 71-56 on Wednesday night at Charles Koch Arena.
VanVleet scored 17 points, shooting 5-for-10 (.500) from the field and dished out nine assists. Carl Hall notched his sixth double-double of the season with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Cleanthony Early and Malcolm Armstead also scored in double figures for Wichita State with 11 and 12 points, respectively.
Ben Simons led Drake with 15 points, shooting 5-for-11 from the field. Richard Carter had 11 points and six assists. Jordan Clarke added 10 points for the Bulldogs.
Both teams came out slow offensively, missing their first seven shots of the game combined. Chadrack Lufile gave Wichita State their first lead of the game when he stole the ball and dunked it on the other end to put the Shockers up 6-5 at the 15:27 mark.
After the two teams traded baskets, Tekele Cotton started a 15-0 run with a 3-pointer that was capped by a Hall layup with 2:00 remaining in the half that put Wichita State up, 27-14. During the run, five different Shockers scored.
Early put the Shockers up 30-16 at the half when he nailed a 3-pointer with :07 remaining.
Wichita State closed the first half on an 18-2 run. They shot 12-for-30 (.400), including 4-for-10 (.400) from behind the arc while holding the Bulldogs to 6-for-28 (.214). Armstead led the Shockers in scoring with six points.
Drake came out of halftime ready to let it go from behind the arc, making their first three shots from long distance. Joey King's three at the 17:55 mark cut the Wichita State lead to 34-25.
Armstead and VanVleet would answer for the Shockers, hitting back-to-back 3-pointers of their own to put the lead at 40-25.
VanVleet then started an 8-0 run a couple of minutes later when he made a shot from behind the arc, was fouled and went to the line to complete a 4-point play. Early scored the other four points in the run to stretch the Wichita State lead to 54-33 at the 11:12 mark.
Drake would still not go away however, going on a 14-1 run to get back into the game and cut the Shocker lead to single digits, 55-47 with 6:01 remaining. Wichita State was able to make one final run to put the game out of reach. VanVleet capped the 8-0 run with an old-fashioned 3-point play that put the Shockers up 63-47 with 3:27 remaining.
The Shockers shot 23-for-56 (.411) from the field for the game and held the Bulldogs to 17-for-49 (.347). They also won the rebounding battle 45-29 and outscored the Drake bench, 36-12.
The Shockers travel to Normal, Ill. on Sunday, February 17 for a game against Illinois State at 7 p.m. The game can be seen on ESPNU.