No. 19 Wichita State beats Illinois State 68-55Wichita State forward Carl Hall (22) goes up for a shot against Illinois State forward Jackie Carmichael during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012, in Normal, Ill. (AP Photo/The Pantagraph, David Proeber)
NORMAL, Ill. (AP) Joe Ragland scored 14 points to lead No. 19 Wichita State to a 68-55 victory over Illinois State on Wednesday night to clinch the Missouri Valley Conference championship.
Ragland had four 3-pointers for the Shockers, who made 10 of 23 from beyond the arc.
Wichita State (25-4, 15-2), which has won seven straight games and 15 of 16, won its seventh Missouri Valley title and first since 2006. The 15 conference wins are the most for the Shockers since they went 17-1
in winning the MVC in 1982-83.
Garrett Stutz had 12 points and 14 rebounds for the Shockers, while Ben Smith and Demetric Williams added 11 points apiece. Williams did all his scoring in the first half.
Bryant Allen scored 17 points for Illinois State (17-12, 8-9).
Wichita State made its first six shots and took a 15-4 lead. Toure Murry, Ragland and Williams hit 3-pointers in that opening stretch.
Illinois State closed within 24-20 after a 3-pointer by Allen, but the Shockers got a tip-in by Tekele Cotton and eight straight points by Williams to close the first half on a 10-2 run for a 34-22 lead.
Wichita State held the Redbirds scoreless for the final 3:27 of the first half.
Illinois State got as close as seven points early in the second half, but the Shockers went on a 10-1 run, highlighted by consecutive dunks by Stutz and Kyles then back-to-back 3-pointers from Ragland and Smith to go ahead 57-40 with 9:41 remaining.
Illinois State wouldn't go away.
The Redbirds cut the deficit to nine points on a jumper by Allen to make it 62-53 with 5:08 left, but that's as close as they would get.
Wichita State shot 52 percent (14 for 27) from the field in the first half and 47 percent (26 for 55) overall.
The Shockers limited the Redbirds to 37 percent shooting and held Jackie Carmichael, Illinois State's leading scorer with a 13.8 average, to six points on 2-of-9 shooting.