Wichita State forward Cleanthony Early (11) and Evan Wessel (3) go up for a rebound against Loyola in the first half. Early led Wichita State with 23 points as the No. 4 Shockers won 57-45 Tuesday. (Jaime Green / Associated Press)
Wichita, Kan. — Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall had a schedule planned for this week.
In a subdued locker room following the fourth-ranked Shockers' 57-45 victory over Loyola of Chicago on Tuesday night, Marshall did not need to inform his players that the schedule would be altered.
After scoring just 21 points in the second half and allowing a 22-point lead to dwindle to single digits, they knew.
"That was a painful second half," Marshall said. "(Wednesday) was going to be a light day. It won't be now. We're going to get after it. That was an endless string of gaffes."
Cleanthony Early scored 12 of his 23 points in the second half to lead Wichita State (22-0, 9-0 Missouri Valley Conference). No other Shocker scored more than seven points, and the rest of the team was a combined 3 of 19 (15.7 percent) from the field in the second half.
Freshman Milton Doyle scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half for Loyola (8-13, 3-6).
The Ramblers trailed 22-16 with 5:35 to play in the first half before Wichita State went on a 14-0 run.
"We got it down to six, and they sped us up," Loyola coach Porter Moser said. "We had six or seven bad possessions in a row, and they push the lead to 20. And that was it. I have seen them do it so many times this season."
Wichita State's lead grew to 42-20 with 17:05 remaining after consecutive 3-pointers from Ron Baker and Early.
"When you get up that big, in any sport, you tend to relax," Baker admitted.
Loyola took advantage.
Doyle, who entered the game averaging 16 points, finally found scoring opportunities after a two-point first half.
His 3-pointer pulled Loyola within 43-29 with 13:31 left, but Early quickly countered with a 3-pointer to stem the tide.
Doyle scored four points in a six-point run that trimmed Wichita State's lead to 48-35 with 6:03 remaining.
"I thought Milton settled down in the second half," Moser said.
A 3 by Devon Turk off a Wichita State turnover and Doyle's slashing layup 31 seconds later brought the Ramblers within 50-40.
At that point, Wichita State had made just two of its previous 18 shots, and point guard Fred VanVleet said the Shockers were "fighting ourselves, and it kept escalating."
The crowd was nervous and then restless after Doyle's three-point play with 2:27 left shaved the lead to single digits, 52-43.
But four free throws by Anthony and a dunk by Darius Carter sealed the victory for the Shockers, who outrebounded Loyola 44-28.
The Shockers tied the 1985-86 Bradley team for the third-longest winning streak by a Missouri Valley team.
The top two MVC winning streaks are Cincinnati, 37 from 1961 to 1963, and Indiana State, 33 in 1978-79.
VanVleet said going undefeated has entered the Shockers' minds.
"Now it does, because you want to win the Valley," he said. "So you want to win every Valley game."
More Top 25
(At) LSU 87, No. 11 Kentucky 82: Johnny O'Bryant III had 29 points and nine rebounds, and LSU led wire-to-wire.
Jordan Mickey scored 14 points and blocked five shots for LSU (13-6, 4-3 SEC), which blocked 11 shots and helped force 13 Kentucky turnovers.
Shavon Coleman added 14 points for the Tigers, who outshot the Wildcats 51 percent (32 of 63) to 44 percent (32 of 73).
James Young scored 23 points and Dakari Johnson had 15 for Kentucky (15-5, 5-2), which has lost all five of its games away from home, including two straight road games in the Southeastern Conference.
Aaron Harrison had 14 points and Alex Poythress added 10 for the Wildcats, who go right back on the road Saturday at Missouri.
(At) No. 20 Creighton 63, St. John's 60: Doug McDermott hit a 25-footer with 2.5 seconds left to finish his season-high 39-point night for Creighton, which squandered all of an 18-point lead.
The Red Storm had just tied the game on Rysheed Jordan's two free throws before McDermott took a pass from Jahenns Manigat on the left wing and got off his winning shot as Chris Obekpa tried to get a hand in his face. Phil Greene IV's desperation 3-point try at the buzzer didn't even touch the net.
D'Angelo Harrison scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half to lead St. John's. Obekpa and Jordan had 11 apiece and JaKarr Sampson added 10.
Winning for the 13th time in 14 games, the Bluejays (18-3, 8-1) stayed in first place in the Big East. St. John's (12-9, 2-6), playing in Omaha for the first time since 1966, had its three-game winning streak end.
Jordan made two free throws with 11.1 seconds left to set up McDermott's dramatic shot.
McDermott scored 10 points during a 17-1 spurt that bumped the Bluejays' lead to 46-28. The lead grew to 18 points before the Red Storm went on runs of 11-2 and 12-2.
McDermott finished 15 of 26 from the field, including 5 of 9 on 3s, and had six rebounds.