ST. LOUIS - Fueled by a school-record 24-of-25 free-throw shooting night and a block-heavy defensive effort, No. 2 seed Wichita State (24-8) defeated the No. 7 seed Missouri State, 73-63, to advance to the semifinals of the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference tournament for the first time since 2006.
Wichita State moves to 24-8 on the season while Missouri State now stands at 20-12.
Sophomore Garrett Stutz had his biggest all-around game of the season, dropping in a season-best 19 points to go along with six rebounds and four blocks.
Toure' Murry had 13 points and six rebounds.
Jermaine Mallet paced the Bears with 18 points before fouling out. Kyle Weems had another 17 points for MSU.
Demetric Williams came off the bench to give WSU nine points and two assists.
Stutz played a key role in the Shockers win over the Bears as the sophomore center dropped in a bucket and hit the follow-up from the free throw line to help put WSU ahead with less than a minute in regulation.
The Shockers seemingly iced the game in the final six minutes thanks to their work from the charity stripe. WSU hit all 15 attempts during the last 6:12 of the second half including four straight by first-team all-conference point guard Clevin Hannah.
Hannah finished with 15 points for WSU to go along with four assists.
Stutz was one of the benefactors of a Hannah assist as the bucket hit hit with 52 seconds remaining put WSU ahead 65-61. Foul trouble and free-throw attempts doomed the Bears from then on as the Shockers will now await the winner of the Illinois State versus Indiana State match-up to see who they will face in the semifinal round on Saturday, Mar. 6.