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Wichita State rallies past Evansville

Wichita, KS (SportsNetwork.com) - To upset undefeated Wichita State on its home floor, Evansville had to be perfect for 40 minutes.

The Purple Aces were well on their way early, making their first eight shots and building a 15-point lead in front of a stunned Charles Koch Arena crowd.

The fourth-ranked Shockers answered the barrage, however, and wound up pulling away for an 81-67 victory to keep their perfect season in tact.

Fred VanVleet and Ron Backer led the comeback effort with 14 points apiece as Wichita State (23-0, 10-0 MVC) took control by ending the first half on a 25-4 flurry. Cleanthony Early and Tekele Cotton added 13 and 12 points, respectively, for the victors.

D.J. Balentine, who was coming off a 43-point showing in a loss to Northern Iowa on Wednesday, paced Evansville (10-13, 3-7) with 26 points but missed nine of his final 14 shots after starting out 6-of-7.

The Purple Aces did not miss a field goal attempt over the first 8 1/2 minutes and held a stunning 29-14 cushion before turnovers and fouls did them in.

Wichita State was in the bonus with 9:23 remaining in the first half following Egidijus Mockevicius's second foul, and with Evansville's starting center on the bench, the Shockers got easy baskets inside and created several turnovers via their full-court press.

Early's 3-pointer with just over a minute left gave the Shockers their first lead at 35-33, and a dunk by Darius Carter and two Early free throws stretched Wichita State's lead to 39-33 at the break.

Evansville committed seven turnovers during Wichita State's half-ending run and never quite recovered in the second half. It was as close as 42-38 before Wichita State scored the next six points, and Cotton's 3-pointer extended the margin to 53-41 with under 14 minutes to play.

The Shockers led comfortably the rest of the way to remain one of three undefeated teams in the nation.

Game Notes

Wichita State is 10-0 in Missouri Valley Conference play for the first time in its history ... The Shockers are 14-0 at home this season ... The Shockers outscored the Purple Aces at the free throw line 24-10 ... VanVleet added seven rebounds and five assists ... Wichita State pulled down 17 offensive rebounds won the battle on the glass 40-29 ... Mockevicius fouled out with 1:59 remaining and finished with eight points ... Evansville, which swept last season's series from Wichita State's Final Four squad, is 0-6 all-time against opponents ranked in the Top-5.

02/01 17:24:02 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
NOR 6
DUR 3
 
Final
MIA 99
CHA 88
12:05pm Today
NOR
DUR
 
Final
CLE 6
TOR 4
Final
DET 2
ANA 1
Final
NYM 4
ATL 3
Final
MIA 3
SEA 2
Final
PIT 2
MIL 3
Final
WAS 3
STL 2
Final
TAM 1
NYY 5
Final
KAN 3
MIN 8
Final
CHC 2
CIN 8
Final
TEX 2
CWS 16
Final
OAK 4
HOU 1
Final
LOS 4
ARI 1
Final
COL 9
PHI 10
Final
SDP 3
SFG 4
Final
BOS 6
BAL 5
11:05am Today
BOS
BAL
 
7:05pm Tonight
PIT
CIN
 
7:05pm Tonight
CLE
KAN
 
7:05pm Tonight
WAS
ANA
 
7:08pm Tonight
DET
CWS
 
7:10pm Tonight
ATL
MIA
 
7:10pm Tonight
NYM
STL
 
8:05pm Tonight
CHC
ARI
 
8:10pm Tonight
MIL
SDP
 
8:40pm Tonight
COL
SFG
 
10:05pm Tonight
OAK
TEX
 
10:10pm Tonight
SEA
HOU
 
10:10pm Tonight
LOS
PHI
 
Final
SAN 90
DAL 85
Final
MIA 99
CHA 88
Final
CHI 93
WAS 102
Final
HOU 120
POR 122
8:00pm Tonight
OKC
MEM
10:30pm Tonight
LAC
GSW
Final
NYR 2
PHI 4
Final
BOS 4
DET 1
Final
MON 3
TAM 2
Final
SJS 7
LOS 2
7:00pm Tonight
MIN
COL
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
PIT
8:30pm Tonight
CHI
STL
9:30pm Tonight
DAL
ANA
Final
NOR 6
DUR 3
 
12:05pm Today
NOR
DUR