WICHITA, Kan. – The Wichita State men’s basketball team continued its record-breaking season, collecting its 22nd straight win after defeating Loyola (8-13, 3-6), 57-45, Tuesday night inside Charles Koch Arena.
Cleanthony Early led the Shockers with 23 points, while Fred VanVleet led Wichita State with eight rebounds and nine assists. Ron Baker and Tekele Cotton added seven points each for the Shockers and Nick Wiggins contributed five points in the victory.
Wichita State (22-0, 9-0) finished the game shooting 36 percent (19-for-52) from the field and 33 percent (7-for-21) from three-point range, holding Loyola to 35 percent (18-for-51) from the field and just 18 percent (3-for-16) from beyond the arc. The Shockers outrebounded the Ramblers 44-28 and dished out 16 assists on the night.
The Shockers went up 14-6 in the early going, capped by a dunk from Cotton at the 12:10 mark of the first half. Loyola hit a three with 11:19 left in the half to cut the Wichita State lead, 16-10, before the Shockers hit two-straight threes to go up 22-10. The Ramblers made a layup at the 6:45 mark to get within eight, 22-14, but the Shocker defense was too much, as Wichita State held Loyola without a field goal for six minutes.
The Shockers went on a 14-2 run over four minutes, giving them a 36-16 advantage before the Ramblers made a layup with 47 seconds left in the half and Wichita State went into the locker room with a 36-18 lead.
Early led all scorers with 11 in the first half on 4-of-7 shooting, including 2-of-4 from three-point range. Nick Wiggins and Cotton each added five points for the Shockers, while VanVleet led Wichita State with five rebounds.
Wichita State shot 50 percent (13-for-26) from the field and 50 percent (4-for-8) from beyond the arc, while holding Loyola to just 28 percent (7-for-25) and 11 percent (1-for-9) from three-point range. The Shockers dished out 12 assists in the first 20 minutes and outrebounded the Ramblers 21-12.
Loyola got the first bucket of the second half on a layup at the 19:17 mark but Wichita State responded with a three by Baker and a three by Early shortly after, giving the Shockers a 43-24 edge.
The Ramblers hit a three with 13:31 left in the game but Early answered with a three of his own, extending the Wichita State lead, 46-29. Milton Doyle scored seven of the next nine points for Loyola, cutting the Shocker lead, 48-35, and the Shockers went 0-for-8 from the field over the next six minutes before Baker made a layup at the 5:30 mark to end the drought.
A three-pointer from Devon Turk and a layup shortly after from Doyle brought Loyola within 10 of Wichita State, 50-40 with 3:50 left to go in the game. Early came out of the media timeout with a jumper in the lane to spark the crowd at the 3:13 mark but a traditional three-point play on the other end got the Ramblers within single digits for the first time since the 10:19 mark in the first half. Loyola couldn’t hold on, however, and Wichita State went on to win, 57-45.
The Shockers play host to the Evansville Purple Aces Saturday, Feb. 1 inside Charles Koch Arena. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. and will be shown on ESPNU.