Baker leads No. 14 Wichita State past Missouri State 76-53
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) Wichita State's three-guard tandem was too much for Missouri State to handle.
Ron Baker made five 3-pointers and finished with 15 points to lead the 14th-ranked Shockers to a 76-53 victory Wednesday night.
Tekele Cotton and Fred VanVleet also scored 15 apiece for the Shockers (17-2, 7-0 Missouri Valley Conference), who have won 25 consecutive conference games dating to last year. VanVleet added seven assists against the Bears.
''They're really good,'' Missouri State coach Paul Lusk said. ''They have the ability to make a deep, deep run. When you have three guards in college basketball that are so versatile ... you're going to have a chance in every game.''
Darius Carter scored 14 for Wichita State, which shot 11 of 21 on 3-pointers and outrebounded Missouri State 40-24.
Baker was 5 of 7 from behind the arc. Cotton held the Bears' best shooter, Austin Ruder, to six points on 3-of-9 shooting.
''Tekele is a strong, athletic kid and he's in great shape,'' Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall said. ''He was trying to be in Ruder's hip pocket all night long.''
Chris Kendrix and Dorrian Williams each had 10 points for Missouri State (8-11, 2-5), which has lost five straight.
Carter, who had a career-high 25 points in a win over Southern Illinois last week, scored the first eight points of the second half for Wichita State. Baker made consecutive 3s to fuel a 20-8 run as Wichita State built a 67-47 lead before Marshall subbed out his starters.
The teams traded the lead 10 times within the first 10 minutes until Wichita State used an 8-0 run to gain separation. The Shockers' lead grew to 34-24 on a 3-pointer by Cotton, but Missouri State finished the half on a 9-2 surge and trailed 39-33 at halftime despite shooting 52 percent from the field (13 of 25).
Cotton scored nine of the Shockers' final 11 points of the half.
Missouri State opened the game by making six of its first nine shots.
''I thought their team did a good job the whole first half,'' Marshall said. ''Paul had his guys playing hard ... and harder than us, at times.''
Missouri State was held to 20 points in the second half and shot just 28 percent from the field (7 of 25), as the Shockers clamped down defensively.
''I thought their half-court defense was probably better than last year, and they had a pretty high bar to start with,'' Ruder said. ''They're probably more aggressive on the defensive end this year.''
Wichita State has held 14 of its first 19 opponents to 60 points or fewer.
''We were just pushing them out on the court and making their first entry tough,'' Baker said. ''Anytime they start their offense farther away from the basket is good for us.''
Wichita State: The Shockers' 44-9 road record since 2010-2011 is the best in the nation. Nine teams have 40 or more road wins in the past five years.
Missouri State: The Bears have lost nine consecutive games to Wichita State. Their last win over the Shockers was on Feb. 1, 2011, a victory that gave Missouri State the Missouri Valley regular-season title.
Coaches from both teams wore sneakers as part of the Coaches vs. Cancer initiative. ... Baker chipped a tooth within the first 5 minutes while diving for a rebound. He tossed the chipped piece off the court and stayed in the game.
Wichita State hosts Drake on Sunday.
Missouri State visits Bradley on Saturday.