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No. 8 Wichita State beats Northern Iowa

January 6, 2014
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS (sports@timesrepublican.com) , Times-Republican

WICHITA, Kan. - Northern Iowa bolted to a 10-point lead over No. 8 Wichita State in just 4 minutes.

The visiting Panthers made three of their first four 3-point attempts and were pumped.

"But in the timeout, we said, 'Keep pushing, don't slow down,'" Northern Iowa guard Deon Mitchell said. "You know they are going to come back."

That the Shockers did.

Fred VanVleet scored a season-high 22 points and Cleanthony Early added 18 as Wichita State remained unbeaten with a 67-53 victory Sunday. The Shockers (15-0, 2-0 Missouri Valley) established a school record for consecutive wins and extended the best start in school history. The previous record winning streak of 14 games came in 1953-54.

Mitchell had 16 points for Northern Iowa (7-7, 1-1) and almost hated to think back to the great start.

"To start that well and have this happen, it (stinks)," he said.

Over the final 36 minutes, the Panthers were 2 of 20 from 3-point range.

"We found guys open, and those are shots we're going to shoot," Northern Iowa coach Ben Jacobson said. "We will keep shooting them."

Wichita State shot 38.1 percent from the field, but VanVleet continued his hot streak. In the last four games, he averaged 18.3 points while compiling 21 assists and just one turnover.

"That's as good of point guard play as I've seen in a long time, at any level," Shockers coach Gregg Marshall said.

Northern Iowa bolted to a 12-2 lead in the first 4 minutes, making three of four 3-point attempts. But the Panthers were 2 of 20 from beyond the arc after that.

"We found guys open, and those are shots we're going to shoot," Northern Iowa coach Ben Jacobson said. "We will keep shooting them."

Early scored 11 of Wichita State's first 13 points in the second half. His third 3-pointer in a 5-minute span gave the Shockers a 43-33 lead with 14:05 remaining.

"We gave him too much space over 40 minutes," Jacobson said.

Northern Iowa rallied by taking the ball to the basket. Drives by Marvin Singleton and Mitchell were followed by Wes Washpun's two free throws that cut Wichita State's lead to 43-39 with 12:17 to play.

VanVleet sparked the next significant spurt for Wichita State. He made a jumper with 8:11 remaining and then dribbled past two Panthers and slithered between two more for a winding layup to go up 57-44 with 6:28 remaining, the biggest lead of the game to that point.

Jacobson was irked at not giving the Shockers a better run despite holding them to poor shooting and staying nearly even on rebounds. Wichita State finished with a 43-40 rebound advantage.

"For anyone to beat them, they are going to have to have that kind of day," Jacobson said. "But you have to have better offense than we had."

The Panthers shot 33.9 percent (19 of 56) for the game.

"I felt like we got back to our defensive identity," VanVleet said. "To go deep and win championships, you have to rely on defense."

 
 

 

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