No shocker: Wichita St. tames Drake
DES MOINES – Cleanthony Early scored 19 points, Ron Baker added 14 and fifth-ranked Wichita State stayed perfect with a 78-61 win over Drake on Saturday.
Nick Wiggins had 11 points for the visiting Shockers (21-0, 8-0 MVC). Wichita State outscored Drake 28-15 to open the second half, turning a relatively close game into a rout.
The Shockers have now won four straight by at least 15 points after an overtime scare at Missouri State two weeks ago.
Aaron Hawley had 16 points to lead Drake (11-9, 2-6), which lost for the sixth time in seven games.
The Bulldogs had their moments against the Valley’s top team.
But they, like nearly everyone else in the league, couldn’t stop the Shockers from imposing their will.
Baker answered a Drake 3 with a 3-point play through traffic with 15:45 left – and that kicked off a pair of spurts that overwhelmed the Bulldogs.
Chadrack Lufile scored inside, and Tekele Cotton’s floater put the Shockers ahead 52-35 with just over 13 minutes left. Early then soared through the paint to flush down an errant shot, and Wiggins’ 3-point play capped an 11-0 run that made it 65-44.
The Shockers outrebounded Drake 34-20 and held its leading scorer, Richard Carter, to just six points.
Wichita State next hosts Loyola and Evansville ahead of what could be its toughest test of the year; at 16-4 Indiana State on Feb. 5.
It’s been six years since Drake caught the nation’s attention with a stunning run to the Valley championship, the program’s first in 37 seasons.
The Bulldogs are on their third coach since that NCAA tournament run, with former Utah frontman Ray Giacoletti in his first season in Des Moines. Drake started the season 10-3 and whipped Evansville 94-66 in the league opener before succumbing to the heart of its Valley schedule.
But the Bulldogs, bolstered by a near-sellout crowd, did their best to push the Shockers early.
They hit 9 of their first 16 shots to stay as close as 30-26. But Baker found Cotton for a left handed alley-oop that sent Wichita State into the break with a 37-29 lead.
Cotton then opened the second half with another dunk and the Shockers were on their way to their eighth road win.