WICHITA, Kan. - Fred VanVleet was a perfect 6-for-6 from the field and 10-for-10 from the free throw line to lead all scorers with 22 points as Wichita State increased its winning streak to 28 after a 88-74 win over Loyola on Wednesday night. Cleanthony Early had 18 points for the Shockers and Darius Carter added 13 points in the win. VanVleet also had a career high in rebounds with eight and dished out a game high six assists.
Wichita State hit 31-of-34 free throws for the game, outscoring Loyola by 20 points from the charity stripe.
The Shockers jumped out to a 10-4 lead early in the first half after Early converted on a three-point play. Early scored five of the first ten points for the Shockers, taking advantage of his size and athleticism in the paint.
Ron Baker gave Wichita State a seven point lead at 13-6 with a three-point play of his own and Evan Wessel's first trey of the season doubled up the Ramblers at 16-8.
After trailing by as many as nine, Devon Turk's layup and free throw got Loyola within 25-19, but Baker took a charge on the defensive end and VanVleet hit a deep two-pointer to get the Shocker lead back to nine at 28-19.
Chadrack Lufile hit one of two free throws to give the third ranked Shockers their first double digit lead of the game, but Turk drained a three-pointer for the Ramblers to quickly cut the deficit to 29-22.
Loyola's Jeff White scored five straight points to pull the Ramblers within 35-29 just before the half and a made free throw by Christian Thomas cut the Shocker lead again to 37-32.
Darius Carter scored the last points of the first half to give Wichita State a seven point edge heading into the locker room at 39-32.
Wichita State started the second on a 13-4 run that was fueled by Lufile and capped by VanVleet. Lufile scored five of the 13 points and Vanvleet connected on a driving layup to extend the Shocker lead to 52-36.
Nick Wiggins' put back layup followed by another Early three point play gave the Shockers a 17 point cushion at 61-44.
The Ramblers answered Wichita State's run, much like they did when the two teams met in Wichita, scoring six consecutive points to get with in 63-53. White hit a three-pointer from the right wing and Milton Doyle converted an old-fashioned three point play for the Ramblers.
The Shockers responded to Loyola's 6-0 run behind Bob Cousy Award finalist, VanVleet. VanVleet's crossover drive was finished with a reverse layup and he followed that with two of his ten made free throws that halted the Rambler run as Wichita State's lead climbed back up to 14 at 69-55.
Carter and VanVleet put things out of reach after what was awarded the play of the game. VanVleet and Carter perfected the pick-and-roll with Carter finishing with a thunderous dunk and the foul.
Loyola got within 82-72 after Doyle hit a three-pointer, but Wichita State hit 7-of-8 free throws down the stretch to maintain the double digit lead.
Wichita State became just the 18th team in NCAA Division I men’s history to start a season 28-0 and is the first MVC team to be the last unbeaten in the NCAA since 1979 (Indiana State, 33-0). It’s the best start in the NCAA since 2004-05 (Illinois went 29-0 that season before losing).
Wichita State will host the Drake Bulldogs on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 7 p.m.