Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Wichita State Rips Northern Iowa, Wins League Crown; No. 11 Wichita St. 74, No. 10 N. Iowa 60; Victory Clinches MVC Crown; College Basketball

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Wichita State Rips Northern Iowa, Wins League Crown; No. 11 Wichita St. 74, No. 10 N. Iowa 60; Victory Clinches MVC Crown; College Basketball

Article excerpt

WICHITA, Kan. * Playing in front of a spirited crowd in one of the biggest home games in school history, Wichita State responded. Ron Baker scored 17 points and Fred VanVleet added 13 to help the 11th-ranked Shockers beat No. 10 Northern Iowa 74-60 on Saturday and win the Missouri Valley Conference regular season title for a second straight season.

"Combined with (ESPN's) 'College GameDay' being here, a top-10 opponent, playing for a championship, I've coached 17 years and this is the biggest regular-season home game I've ever had," Shockers coach Gregg Marshall. "Our team responded. And our fans responded. It was electric."

Wichita State (27-3, 17-1) had five double-figure scorers as Tekele Cotton, Darius Carter and Evan Wessel each had 11 points.

Northern Iowa (27-3, 16-2) had just one: Seth Tuttle scored 16 points. The Panthers entered the contest allowing 53.8 points per game (fourth nationally ) but couldn't stop the Shockers or continue a winning streak that had reached 16 games.

"Wichita State was more aggressive in their press, more aggressive on ball screens than when we played them the first time," Northern Iowa coach Ben Jacobson said. "And VanVleet and Baker having 14 assists and no turnovers, we didn't do a good enough job pressuring those guys."

Both teams have a bye in the first round of this week's MVC tournament, at Scottrade Center, and open play on Friday. Each club's foe will be determined Thursday.

Through the game's initial 10 minutes, Northern Iowa had things going to plan as it built a 20-16 lead and Tuttle got Wichita State's top two centers into foul trouble. Carter and Shaquille Morris combined for four fouls in just 10 minutes played. That was similar to when Northern Iowa beat Wichita State 70-54 on Jan. 31.

But the Shockers finished the half on a 22-6 run. There were surprising contributions from little-used Zach Brown (a 3-pointer) and Bush Wamukota (two interior baskets) in the spurt, but the highlights went to the stars. With the shot clock about to expire, Cotton swished a 3-pointer from 25 feet and 24 seconds later, VanVleet sank a high-arching 3-pointer. …

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