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Shockers take on Bears in MVC Semifinals

St. Louis, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - The top-seeded Wichita State Shockers will attempt to keep their historic season alive on Saturday afternoon, as they take on the fourth-seeded Missouri State Bears in the semifinals of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament at the Scottrade Center.

Awaiting the winner of this contest in the championship game will be the survivor of the Indiana State/Southern Illinois matchup.

Missouri State began its tournament stay on Friday when it dismissed fifth- seeded Illinois State, 53-48, to improve to 20-11 overall, it first 20-win campaign since 2010-11. The Bears are now winners of three of their last four.

Wichita State's unblemished campaign continued on Friday afternoon when the team dismissed Evansville, 80-58, for its fourth straight victory of at least 20 points. The Shockers were the first team since Saint Joseph's in 2003-04 to enter postseason play undefeated, and they are just two wins shy of the NCAA- record winning streak of 34 set by UNLV during the 1990-91 campaign.

The teams met up in the regular-season finale, with Wichita State making easy work of Missouri State at home last Saturday, 68-45. The Shockers have now won seven in a row over the Bears to improve to 34-30 all time.

The Bears trailed by one late in their contest on Friday but pulled away thanks to a 8-2 run, and while they shot only 32.7 percent from the floor on the afternoon, they held Illinois State to an even worse 31.4 percent. They also won the rebounding battle, 45-36. Austin Ruder was the spark plug with a career-high-tying 21 points, shooting 6-of-12 from 3-point range in the process. No one else registered in double figures, but Keith Pickens (14 rebounds) and Jarmar Gulley (10) both pulled down double-digit boards.

Despite Missouri State's impressive record this season, it has barely scored more points per game (69.6) than it has allowed (68.3 ppg), and it actually gets outshot from the floor by its opponents, 44.4 percent to 43.5 percent. Gulley is the unquestioned leader in terms of on-the-court production, as he nets 14.7 ppg, grabs 6.5 rpg and swipes 1.7 spg, all while shooting nearly 46 percent from the field. Ruder (9.0 ppg) has been impressive from beyond the arc, knocking down 71 3-pointers at a 42.3 percent clip.

After exchanging a few leads with Evansville early in their quarterfinal-round matchup, the Shockers pulled away by 10 at halftime and cruised to the 22- point victory from there, as they outshot the Purple Eagles from the field, 50.9 percent to 36.8 percent, and scored 17 points off a 12 UE turnovers. Cleanthony Early and Ron Baker both poured in 17 points in the triumph on a combined 12-of-19 field goal shooting. Tekele Cotton and Chadrack Lufile scored 11 points apiece, while Kadeem Coleby was a factor on the defensive end of the court with six blocks.

On the season, Wichita State has been blowing teams out left and right, which is accurately portrayed with its outstanding +15.5 scoring margin, as it shoots 45.7 percent from the field for 75.4 ppg while allowing just 59.9 ppg on 39.4 percent shooting. The team also lives in the green with its rebounding (+8.1) and turnover (+1.9) margins. Early paces the squad in both scoring (15.8 ppg) and rebounding (5.9 rpg) on greater than 46 percent shooting, while Baker (13.1 ppg), Fred VanVleet (11.9 ppg, 5.3 apg) and Cotton (10.4 ppg) have also been strong.

03/08 10:03:51 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CAR 3
CLB 4
Final
CAR 19
PIT 37
Final
NYY 5
TOR 2
Final
MIA 1
WAS 2
Final
BAL 2
BOS 3
Final
PIT 1
MIL 0
Final
ATL 2
NYM 10
Final
TAM 5
CWS 10
Final
MIN 2
CLE 7
Final
KAN 5
DET 2
Final
HOU 8
SEA 3
Final
CHC 5
LOS 8
Final
ANA 1
TEX 2
Final
OAK 8
PHI 6
Final
COL 8
ARI 3
Final
SDP 8
SFG 2
Final
STL 2
CIN 7
7:05pm Tonight
NYY
BAL
 
7:05pm Tonight
CLE
KAN
 
7:07pm Tonight
TOR
SEA
 
7:08pm Tonight
DET
CWS
 
7:10pm Tonight
ATL
PIT
 
8:05pm Tonight
TEX
HOU
 
8:05pm Tonight
CHC
STL
 
8:10pm Tonight
MIN
ARI
 
10:05pm Tonight
OAK
ANA
 
10:10pm Tonight
SDP
COL
 
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LOS
SFG
 
Final
CAR 3
CLB 4
Final
WAS 1
BUF 0
Final
CLB 4
STL 3
Final
EDM 3
CAL 1
Final
CAL 1
EDM 0
1:30pm Today
NYI
OTT
 
6:00pm Tonight
NYI
OTT
 
7:00pm Tonight
PIT
DET
 
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NYR
NJD
 
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
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PHI
WAS
 
8:00pm Tonight
WIN
MIN
 
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
STL
 
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COL
ANA
 
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
COL
 
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ARI
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10:30pm Tonight
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ARI
 
Final
CLE 21
BAL 23
Final
STL 31
DAL 34
Final
DET 19
GBP 7
Final
NYG 30
HOU 17
Final
JAC 17
IND 44
Final
NOS 20
MIN 9
Final
NEP 16
OAK 9
Final
BUF 10
SDC 22
Final
CIN 33
TEN 7
Final
PHI 37
WAS 34
Final
ARI 23
SFX 14
Final
SEA 26
DEN 20
Final
MIA 15
KAN 34
Final
CAR 19
PIT 37
8:30pm Tonight
NYJ
CHI