Wichita State stays unbeaten with big rally

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- College basketball isn't set up for prevent defenses, not with the way officials are calling fouls.

No. 6 Wichita State exploited those calls to rally from a 19-point deficit in the second half and stun Missouri State 72-69 in overtime on Saturday night at JQH Arena.

The Shockers made 19 of 23 free throws in the second half and 31 of 40 in the Missouri Valley Conference game. It was the sixth-largest comeback in conference history.

A full-court press that caused turnovers changed the momentum in the second half and the Shockers cashed in at the foul line.

"That's College basketball," Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall said. "When teams are down, with the rules, you've got to drive the basketball. Put the onus on the official one way or the other."

Wichita State (17-0, 4-0) trailed by 18 points at halftime and by 19 at 54-35 with 11:48 to play.

At the buzzer, the Shockers celebrated more than at any time this season. Some of the players quieted the Missouri State student section by their bench and the crowd of 10,776, third largest in arena history, went home disappointed.

"It stings a lot," Missouri State guard Marcus Marshall said. "We knew they weren't going to give up. They just keep coming."

The Shockers hadn't trailed by more than 13 in a game this season. They kept their composure when Missouri State made 8 of 14 3-point shots to build an 18-point halftime lead. They maintained their composure when the Bears answered their runs in the second half.

"We've got some big players on this team that like to make big plays," Shockers guard Ron Baker said. "We had to keep grinding out the game."

Wichita State's press changed the tone of the second half by forcing turnovers and taking the Bears (12-4, 2-2) out of their offensive flow.

"We got caught off guard and they really started being more aggressive with their traps," Marshall said.

The Shockers forced 13 turnovers and scored 18 points off turnovers in the game. In the second half, the press did most of the damage, creating 11 points.

"It sped them up," Wichita State guard Fred VanVleet said. "They weren't getting so many open shots. It got them on their heels a little bit."

VanVleet sent the game to overtime with a foul shot with eight seconds to play. He scored seven of Wichita State's eight points in overtime, including two free throws with 8.8 seconds remaining.

Wichita State's Cleanthony Early picked off an inbounds pass in the final second to seal the win.

NOTES: Wichita State improved to 4-2 at JQH Arena, joining Northern Iowa as the only MVC team with a winning record in the arena. ... Wichita State G Fred VanVleet committed a turnover in the first half, his first in five games. He last committed one against North Carolina Central on Dec. 22. ... MSU fell to 1-5 against top-10 foes. ... Missouri State has never beaten a team ranked as high as No. 6. ... Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall passed Gene Smithson for second on the school's career list. Marshall is 156-70 in seven seasons. ... No. 6 Wichita State is the highest-ranked NCAA Division I school to play at Missouri State. No. 13 Creighton was the previous high. ... The Bears have won nine straight games at home.

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