WICHITA, Kan. — Loyola-Chicago got a chance to measure itself against the top of the Missouri Valley Conference. The Ramblers are not close.
No. 4 Wichita State cruised past Loyola 57-45 on Tuesday at Koch Arena to remain one of the nation’s three unbeaten teams. Loyola, a new member of the MVC, didn’t play with the urgency usually seen in conference games. It fell behind by 20 points in the first half and never made a run in the second.
The Shockers extended their school-record winning streak to 22 games and improved to 9-0 in the MVC, the best start in program history.
Forward Cleanthony Early, a Wooden Award candidate, scored 23 points to continue his hot streak. He averaged 21 in two road games last week. Forward Milton Doyle led Loyola with 16 points.
The Shockers led by 22 early in the second half before their offense shut down. They went almost seven minutes without a field goal, helping the Ramblers (8-13, 3-6 MVC) cut the lead to 15 points.
Loyola cut the lead to 52-43 in the final minutes. Three free throws and a dunk by forward Darius Carter put the Shockers up 57-43.
The Shockers closed the half with a 14-3 run to lead 36-18 at the break.
Early scored 11 first-half points, and forwards Nick Wiggins and Tekele Cotton added five each.
Wiggins got the burst going with two free throws for a 24-16 lead and followed with a long 3-pointer to make it 27-16. Early made a baseline jumper and a 3-pointer to give Wichita State a 34-16 lead.
The Ramblers fueled the Shockers’ run with two turnovers and four missed shots.
Wichita State overwhelmed the smaller Ramblers with its size and experience. The Shockers outrebounded Loyola 21-12 in the first half and outscored the Ramblers 16-6 in the lane.
Loyola missed eight of its nine 3-point attempts and shot 7 of 25 from the field. Guard Devon Turk scored five points and finished the half with three fouls.
NOTES: Loyola made its first trip to Wichita as a member of the Missouri Valley Conference. The Ramblers last played in Wichita in 1974 during a time when the teams often met twice a year as nonconference foes. … Wichita State’s 8-0 MVC start matches the 1964 and 1965 teams as the program’s best. … Wichita State is 12-0 at home, with five home games remaining. It last went unbeaten at home in 1982-83, when it went 15-0.
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