Tuesday, November 12, 2013 3:43 am
VanVleet leads No. 16 Wichita St past W. Kentucky
By JEFFREY PARSONAssociated Press
Cleanthony Early finished with 11 points and nine rebounds for the Shockers (2-0) while Tekele Cotton added 10 points in the matchup that tipped at midnight locally and finished at 2:09 a.m.
T.J. Price and Aleksej Rostov scored 12 points each to lead the Hilltoppers (0-1).
After unveiling the banner to commemorate its run to the Final Four last season, Wichita State led just 30-28 at halftime and then scored the first nine points of the second half to take control.
Caden Dickerson's 3-pointer pulled Western Kentucky to 51-42 with 8:44 to play, but Cotton scored the next four points for the Shockers to stem the tide.
The Hiltoppers, who shot 7 for 30 in the second half, didn't get within 10 points again.
Wichita State, which finished with 12 blocks and had a 36-14 edge on scoring in the paint, jumped out to a 6-0 lead to excite the sold-out crowd.
Western Kentucky survived the rough early stretch and turned the rest of the half into a grudge match of runs. Price put Western Kentucky on the board with a 3-pointer that started a 12-4 run, capped by Kevin Kaspar's 3, for a 12-10 lead with 11:22 remaining in the half.
Wichita State answered with seven straight points, four from VanVleet, before Western Kentucky countered with nine straight, including Ben Lawson's slam and Kaspar's 3 for a 21-17 lead with 5:48 left in the period.
The Shockers followed with an 11-1 run, highlighted by two circus layups from VanVleet, before Price bounced in a 3 at the buzzer to pull the Hiltoppers within two.
Wichita State came out strong in the second half. Ron Baker made a corner 3 and Coleby had three straight baskets, including two emphatic slams.
Through the first 11 minutes of the second half, Western Kentucky had just four baskets - all by Rostov.