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Wichita State downs Illinois State, claims MVC crown

Feb 23, 2012 - 4:23 AM Normal, IL (Sports Network) - Joe Ragland paced four Wichita State players in double figures with 14 points as the 19th-ranked Shockers took down Illinois State by a 68-55 count on Wednesday to lock up the Missouri Valley Conference title.

Garrett Stutz had a double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds, while Ben Smith and Demetric Williams chipped in with 11 points apiece for Wichita State (25-4 15-2 MVC), which has won seven straight contests.

Bryant Allen dropped in a game-high 17 points for the Redbirds (17-12, 8-9), who received nine points and eight rebounds from John Wilkins in defeat. Illinois State has lost three of its last four games.

Wichita State jumped on top in a hurry, opening the game with a 15-4 run, capped by a Carl Hall layup.

Wilkins finally snapped the run with a layup, which sparked a 16-9 Illinois State spurt to pull the Redbirds within 24-20 with six minutes to play in the opening half. Allen, who capped the burst with a trey, had eight points during the surge.

Wichita State, though, closed the opening 20 minutes on a 10-2 flurry to lead 34-22 at the break.

Illinois State opened the second half by outscoring the Shockers 10-5 to cut the deficit to seven, 39-32, with 15:26 left in the game.

A trey by Ragland pushed the Wichita State lead back to 10 with 14:30 to go, and they went on a 12-5 burst to extend the lead to 17, 57-40, with 9:41 to play.

Tyler Brown sank a pair of free throws with 4:13 left to cut the deficit to single-digits at 64-55, but David Kyles put home a layup to give Wichita State a 66-55 lead with 2:52 to go and they led by double-digits the rest of the way.

Game Notes

Despite the loss, Illinois State holds a 36-33 lead in the rivalry, but the Shockers have now beaten the Redbirds six consecutive times...Wichita State shot 47 percent from the floor, while the Redbrids shot just 37.7 percent from the field...The Shockers got the better of the play inside, scoring 26 points in the paint to just 16 for Illinois State...The Shockers turned 14 Redbirds turnovers into 11 points.