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Second-half surge carries Shockers past Illinois State

Normal, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Redbird Arena was buzzing with anticipation as Illinois State had undefeated Wichita State on the ropes.

A second half summed up by Tekele Cotton's epic dunk, however, ended any hope of a signature upset.

Cleanthony Early made six 3-pointers and finished with 23 points as the fifth- ranked Shockers continued the best start in school history with a hard-fought 70-55 win over Illinois State on Wednesday.

Wichita State (20-0, 7-0 MVC) trailed by three at the break, but opened the second half on an 18-5 flurry to pull away and remain one of three unbeaten teams in the country.

Early also pulled down 10 rebounds, Ron Baker chipped in 15 points and Cotton added 12 for the Shockers, who held the Redbirds to 1-of-25 shooting from behind the arc.

Daishon Knight had 12 points to lead Illinois State (11-8, 4-3), which had won seven straight at home coming in.

Illinois State led essentially the entire first half, with buckets by Zach Lofton and Bobby Hunter in the final minute giving the Redbirds a 28-25 edge at the break.

The Shockers took the air out of the building with the game-altering run, though. Early drained a 3-pointer to start things off and had eight points during the seven-minute stretch that ended in a five-point play.

Wichita State's Fred VanVleet made a layup while getting fouled, and a review of a Tony Wills elbow up high on Baker resulted in a Flagrant 1 foul. VanVleet made his bonus free throw and Baker followed with both of his, and Wichita State was suddenly ahead by a 43-33 count.

The Illinois State faithful actually did erupt in emotion a little later, but even that was for a vicious dunk by Cotton. The 6-foot-2 guard drove the baseline and soared for what seemed like an eternity. The Redbirds' John Jones, who stands 6-foot-9, attempted to meet him at the rim. Cotton, with his right arm cocked more than halfway over the rim, threw down a rim-rattling tomahawk slam, however, as Redbird Arena gasped in unison.

The highlight-reel slam yielded a 60-42 lead, and the Shockers held on over the final five minutes.

Game Notes

Illinois State only had five assists on 19 made field goals ... Wichita State had only two turnovers in the second half after committing 11 in the first ... The Shockers shot 11-of-27 from 3-point range ... Wichita State is next in action Saturday at Drake.

01/22 22:37:40 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
NCSU 24
GASO 23
1st
DUKE 7
ELON 0
 
1st
UNC 7
LBRTY 0
 
7:05pm Tonight
NOR
DUR
 
8:00pm Tonight
ECU
NCCU
 
Final
TOR 2
NYY 0
Final
CWS 6
DET 3
Final
STL 1
CHC 5
8th
PIT 3
CIN 2
 
7:05pm Tonight
BAL
MIN
7:10pm Tonight
TAM
BOS
7:10pm Tonight
KAN
CLE
7:10pm Tonight
CWS
DET
7:10pm Tonight
ATL
MIA
7:10pm Tonight
NYM
PHI
7:10pm Tonight
HOU
TEX
8:10pm Tonight
ARI
COL
8:15pm Tonight
STL
CHC
8:40pm Tonight
SDP
LOS
9:05pm Tonight
SFG
MIL
9:05pm Tonight
ANA
OAK
9:10pm Tonight
SEA
WAS
Final
MICH 52
APPST 14
Final
NAVY 17
OSU 34
Final
UAB 48
TROY 10
Final
UVA 20
UCLA 28
Final
PURD 43
WMICH 34
Final
NCSU 24
GASO 23
Final
UMASS 7
BC 30
 
4th
NW 21
CAL 31
 
3rd
NEB 45
FATL 7
 
4th
UMO 20
MARS 28
 
4th
ND 38
RICE 10
 
4th
MIZZ 35
SDST 18
 
3rd
ALA 30
WVU 20
 
3rd
AUB 28
ARK 21
 
3rd
STAN 38
UCD 0
 
1st
UGA 7
CLEM 7
 
1st
UNC 7
LBRTY 0
 
1st
KSU 0
OHIO 7
 
7:00pm Tonight
UF
IDAHO
7:00pm Tonight
OKLA
LATU
7:10pm Tonight
KST
SAUST
7:30pm Tonight
USC
FRES
7:30pm Tonight
MSST
SMISS
8:00pm Tonight
OKST
FSU
8:00pm Tonight
TEX
UNT
8:00pm Tonight
NMU
UTEP
9:00pm Tonight
LSU
WISC
10:30pm Tonight
OREG
SD
10:30pm Tonight
HAW
WASH
1st
DUKE 7
ELON 0
 
8:00pm Tonight
ECU
NCCU
 
7:05pm Tonight
NOR
DUR