NORMAL, Ill.- Cleanthony Early's 3-pointer with 4.8 seconds remaining pushed the Shockers past Illinois State 68-67 on Sunday night at Redbird Arena.
Early scored 12 points in the game, all in the second half, while also going 6-for-8 from the free throw line. Malcolm Armstead led the Shockers with 18 points, six rebounds and six assists. Carl Hall added 13 points.
Tyler Brown led the way for Illinois State with 17 points and seven rebounds. Jackie Carmichael had 12 points and nine rebounds.
Wichita State (22-5, 11-4) held Illinois State (16-11, 8-7) to 0-for-7 from the field to start the game, before the Redbirds scored their first field goal on a runner by Johnny Hill at the 15:52 mark. Two free throws by Brown pulled the Redbirds within 5-4, and a Bryant Allen three-point play gave ISU its first lead of the game, 7-5, with 13:12 remaining in the first half.
The Redbirds scored 14 more unanswered points to increase their advantage to 19-5, with 7:20 remaining, marking the largest lead for Illinois State in the game at 14 points. During that stretch, the Redbirds held Wichita State to 0-for-9 from the field for 7:29.
Wichita State answered with a 7-3 run to pull within 21-12 on a three pointer by Armstead at the 4:59 mark. Another 7-3 run by the Shockers allowed Wichita State to pull within 27-20 at halftime.
Both teams struggled shooting the ball in the half as the Shockers went 8-for-26 (.308) from the field while holding the Redbirds to 6-for-25 (.240).
After Wichita State pulled within 32-27 at the 16:02 mark in the second half, the Redbirds responded with a 6-0 run over the next 2:13 that was capped by a Brown dunk to push Illinois State ahead, 38-27. The two teams exchanged baskets, until ISU went on a 6-3 run to increase its lead to 53-44 with 6:44 remaining. The Redbirds improved their advantage to 61-51, after free throws by Hill, Brown and Bryant Allen.
Wichita State answered with a 9-2 run to pull within 63-60 on an Early three-pointer at the 2:10 mark. The Shockers then edged within two points at 67-65, after two free throws by Early and a Demetric Williams 3-pointer with 28 seconds left.
A turnover by Hill gave Wichita State the ball, and Early drilled a three-pointer with 4.8 seconds remaining, to give the Shockers their first lead since early in the first half. After a timeout with four seconds left, Carmichael attempted a runner in the lane, which rimmed out, securing Wichita State's victory.
Wichita State will stay on the road, heading to Terre Haute, Ind. for a game against Indiana State on Tuesday, February 19 at 6 p.m. The game can be seen on ESPN3.