WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Fred VanVleet scored a career-high 27 points to lead No. 12 Wichita State to a 58-47 win over Loyola on Wednesday night.
Ron Baker added 16 points as the Shockers (19-2, 9-0 Missouri Valley) shot just 41 percent from the floor and 43 percent from the free throw line. VanVleet and Baker were a combined 16 of 28 from the floor. The rest of the team was 6 of 26.
Devon Turk scored nine points for Loyola (13-8, 3-6), which was held to its lowest scoring output of the season.
Wichita State’s shooting struggles started right away. The Shockers had 17 shots in the game’s first eight minutes but made just four of them, including a VanVleet 3-pointer for a 10-6 lead.
With Wichita State unable to convert shots, the Ramblers stayed close. Jeff White’s baseline drive and layup gave Loyola a 16-15 lead with 6:03 remaining in the half. To make things more difficult for the Shockers, their two best interior scoring threats, Darius Carter and Shaquille Morris, each picked up two fouls in the first half.
VanVleet kept Wichita State going, hitting a tie-breaking 3-pointer with 3:40 to play in the half and swishing a 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded for a 29-23 halftime lead.
Wichita State made its final three shots of the half to finish 12 of 32 from the floor. VanVleet had 16 points — no one else on either team more than six — on 6-of-9 shooting.
The second half started much the same way. The Shockers made only two shots in the first nine minutes, and Loyola was within 35-30 after Joe Crisman’s baseline 3-pointer with 12:30 remaining.
Loyola did not score again for more than six minutes.
Wichita State methodically took advantage. Baker had a dunk to wake up the crowd, VanVleet converted a layup and Baker sank a 3-pointer with 6:50 remaining to make it 44-30 Wichita State. The Ramblers did not get closer than nine again.
Loyola: The Ramblers were without Milton Doyle, last season’s Missouri Valley freshman of the year, due to an injured left ankle. Doyle, who averages 11.5 points, missed his third straight game. He is likely out another three weeks. . Loyola coach Porter Moser is 1-11 against Wichita State as a head coach.
Wichita State: The Shockers have won 27 straight Missouri Valley games, the longest streak since 1924. . Junior guard Evan Wessel is 40-0 in home games in which he played. . VanVleet’s previous high was 22, which he scored four times last season.
Loyola entered the game leading the Missouri Valley Conference in 3-point shooting at 39.6 percent, and playing Wichita State is a big reason why. The Ramblers were 10 of 18 from the 3-point line in the first matchup. Loyola kept that going Wednesday, making 8 of 15 3-point attempts.
Loyola: hosts to Illinois State on Saturday.
Wichita State: travels to No. 18 Northern Iowa on Saturday.
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