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Wichita State tops Northern Iowa for latest road win

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — Wichita State's historic road show continues, quieting fans all over the Missouri Valley Conference.

The Shockers routed Northern Iowa 73-55 on Saturday night at the McLeod Center to beat down some demons and remain tied for first place in the Valley.

Toure Murry's three from the top of the key sent the Panther fans to the exits with more than four minutes remaining.

WSU (21-5, 12-3 MVC) didn't need many of those long shots. It ran a layup drill against the two-time defending MVC champions and made the game a laugher in the final minutes.

UNI (18-9, 9-6), playing without injured forward Lucas O'Rear, couldn't stop the Shockers in the lane. WSU's starters bottled up UNI's ball-screen offense, reducing the Panthers to running into defenders, flopping and hoping for something good.

With that effort, the Shockers can forget about Tuesday's crushing loss to Southern Illinois at home.

"We can't play much better than that," WSU coach Gregg Marshall said. "It hasn't been a very fun 72 hours. They responded beautifully. It was beautiful to watch them play tonight, share the basketball and run the court."

WSU is 7-0 in MVC road games, all the wins by 10 or more points. Only one other MVC team — the 1994-95 Tulsa Hurricane — matched that. And the Shockers have two more road games to feast on.

In the first half, WSU made 13 of 15 shots inside the three-point arc. With 3:30 remaining and the game decided, WSU was 23 of 30 inside the arc.

It wasn't easy. But the Shockers made it look that way much of the game.

"With them being man down, we stressed getting it inside that much more," Durley said.

The Shocker starters did most of the damage. Murry disrupted UNI guard Kwadzo Ahelegbe, who tormented WSU in Wichita for 21 points. The Shockers blanketed guard Anthony James, who scored 20 in that 77-74 win.

Ahelegbe went 5 of 13 from the field and scored 15 points. James went 1 for 10 and scored four.

UNI made its final rally against the WSU reserves. The Shocker starters entered the game with a white-out crowd on its feet to protect a 50-47 lead. They ran off a 14-1 burst that settled matters. That burst later became a 21-1 burst that led to WSU's deep reserves getting more playing time than usual.

Murry led WSU with 15 points and nine rebounds.

Graham Hatch, who scored 13 points, started the run with a three. Joe Ragland — the point guard — followed in a miss for a 55-47 lead. Then Ragland found Murry for a layup. Hatch scored again after a Panther turnover.

On it went. The Panthers went scoreless from the 7:32 mark until Johnny Moran's three with 1:28 to play.

WSU didn't alter its course in the second half. The Shockers pounded the ball inside and got easy baskets. Off turnovers or misses, they ran and got layups. Murry started the half with a layup from a pass from J.T. Durley. He scored another layup after Gabe Blair blocked a shot and WSU ran the break for a 39-27 lead.

The Panthers rallied when the Shocker starters went to the bench. Blair and Durley picked up their third fouls early in the second half.

Kerwin Dunham's three-point play cut WSU's lead to 47-39. Ahelegbe swished a three to get the crowd roaring, pulling UNI within 50-44.

The Shockers played offense in the lane throughout the first half, leading to 60 percent shooting and 22 points in the paint. Turnovers — eight — slowed the offense. WSU made 15 of 25 shots, 13 of 15 inside the three-point arc.

Hatch got WSU off to a good start, scoring in the lane for a 6-2 lead and from the top of the key to make it 9-2. Ben Smith's three gave the Shockers a 14-4 lead and forced Panthers coach Ben Jacobson to call timeout.

UNI's Jake Koch changed the momentum with two long three-pointers.

WSU built its lead back to 10, 31-21, on two free throws by Murry with 3:41 to play.

UNI stayed in the game by making 8 of 9 free throws in the first half. WSU shot three, making all of them.

Ahelegbe and James both missed 6 of 7 shots in the first half.

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