ST. LOUIS - Wichita State opened up its 2014 NCAA tournament with a 64-37 win over Cal Poly on Friday night to advance to the third round of the NCAA tournament on Sunday. The 35-0 start is the best start in NCAA Division I history and the 27 point win is the largest margin of victory for Wichita State in the NCAA tournament.
Cleanthony Early led all scorers with 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting. Ron Baker pulled down a career high nine rebounds and Fred VanVleet dished out eight assists.
Cal Poly scored the first three points of the game but Wichita State's patented defense held the Mustangs scoreless for an 11 minute span as Cal Poly missed 13 consecutive field goal attempts in the first half. The Shockers only allowed four field goals in the first half, the lowest amount all season.
Wichita State scored its first nine points on three-pointers from Early and Baker. Early started the scoring with one of his three three-pointers to tie the game at 3-3. Baker followed with a trey of his own from the right wing and Early then made his second from long distance that gave Wichita State a 9-5 lead after five minutes of play.
Early then hit a driving layup and got fouled to add a free-throw and Darius Carter came off the bench and added two free throws of his own for a 14-5 Shocker lead.
From the 18:49 mark to the 7:40 mark of the first half, the Mustangs of Cal Poly missed 13 straight shots allowing Wichita State to go on a 14-0 run and break the game open for a 21-5 Shocker advantage.
Cal Poly's Kyle Odister hit a three-pointer from the right wing that ended the Wichita State run with 7:39 to play in the first half. It was the Mustangs second field goal of the game.
Early would score seven of the next nine points for the Shockers that was highlighted by an alley oop dunk from VanVleet. The 9-0 run gave the Shockers a 30-8 lead with five minutes to play before the break.
Kadeem Coleby followed a VanVleet miss with a put back dunk that received a huge roar from the Shocker fans that painted the Scottrade Center yellow and black. Wichita State took a 32-13 lead into halftime.
Early led all scorers with 19 first half points on 7-of-11 shooting, including 3-for-6 from behind-the-arc. Wichita State shot 44 percent (11-for-25) from the field in the first half and 4-for-9 from three-point range The Mustangs ended the first half shooting 13.8 percent (4-for-29) and 2-for-13 from three.
The Shockers came out of the locker room and hit three of their first four shots to take a 39-17 lead.
Wichita State forced Cal Poly to shoot low percentage jump shots all night as the Mustangs had streaks of 13, 7, and 7 consecutive missed shots.
Another 13-2 run was capped by a Nick Wiggins three-pointer that put the Shockers on top 47-19 with just under 13 minutes remaining in the game.
A Ridge Shipley three-pointer was part of a mini 7-0 Mustang run that cut into the Shocker lead at 50-30 but Early answered with layup down on the other end that ended the Cal Poly threat. Lufile grabbed an Early miss and powered it back up for a lay up to get the lead back up to 54-30 and VanVleet drew two defenders with a drive into the lane only to dish it off to Early for an easy bucket and a 56-30 advantage.
Evan Wessel grabbed an offensive rebound and laid it back in to give the Shockers its biggest lead of the game at 60-30.
The Shockers advanced to the third round of the NCAA tournament and will take on Kentucky on Sunday. Game time is scheduled to start 30 minutes after the conclusion of 11:15 a.m. tip-off of Kansas vs. Stanford.