WICHITA, Kan. - With a capacity crowd of 10,506 chanting “undefeated,” the No. 2-ranked Wichita State Shockers sealed a perfect regular season by improving to a NCAA Division I regular-season record 31-0 with a dominating 68-45 win against Missouri State Saturday at Charles Koch Arena.
Wichita State (31-0, 18-0) became the first NCAA Division I team to finish a regular season undefeated since Saint Joseph’s in 2003-04 and became the first unbeaten MVC team since Bradley went 16-0 in 1985-86.
Senior forward Cleanthony Early scored a game-high 19 points for the Shockers, including 13 in the first half, on senior night.
Wichita State redshirt sophomore guard Ron Baker finished the game with 13 points and junior forward Darius Carter added 10 points along with a game-high eight rebounds. Wichita State sophomore guard Fred VanVleet dished out seven assists as the Shockers became just the second MVC team to wrap up a conference slate 18-0 (Oklahoma 1927-28).
MVC Commissioner Doug Elgin presented the Shockers the 2014 MVC regular-season championship trophy after the game and seniors Early, forward Chadrack Lufile, guard Nick Wiggins and center Kadeem Coleby were recognized at center court.
Wichita State jumped out to an 8-1 lead to start the game, holding Missouri State without a field goal for the first 4:45 of the opening half. The Shockers led Saturday’s game against the visiting Bears (19-11, 9-9) from start to finish.
The Shockers extended to a 21-point lead in the first half when Carter converted back-to-back free throws to cap a 9-2 run with 2:40 remaining in the half. Wichita State took a 39-21 lead into halftime.
Missouri State came as close as 16 points in the second half, but the Shockers went on to extend out to a 29-point edge -- their largest lead of the game -- on a layup by Lufile with just under three minutes left in regulation.
The Shockers shot 51.1 percent for the game and held Missouri State to 31.4 percent shooting Saturday.
Wichita State finished the regular season with a 17-0 home record at Charles Koch Arena, marking just the third time a Shocker men’s basketball team has finished with an undefeated home record since the arena opened in 1955-56.
Wichita State takes the No. 1 seed into the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament March 6-9 at Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo.