WICHITA, Kan. - Tekele Cotton led five Shockers in double figures with 18 points, including four three-pointers as the Shockers earned another road win in the MVC by defeating Northern Iowa 82-73. Cleanthony Early chipped in 16 points, while Darius Carter scored 15 points off the bench. Fred VanVleet had 14 points and seven rebounds and Ron Baker added 12 points and six assists in the win.
Northern Iowa jumped out to an early 6-3 lead in the first half after capitalizing on three second chance opportunities. The Panthers grabbed three early offensive rebounds and turned the extra possessions into points, all on put back layups.
The Shockers regained the lead at 8-6 after Baker hit a midrange jumper and Cotton followed with a trey from the right wing. Wichita State increased its lead to five at 13-8 after Early converted an old-fashioned three point play. Early drew contact on the block and finished the play with a basket and a free-throw.
The Panthers quickly answered by scoring the next four points to cut the Shocker lead to 13-12 with 13:30 remaining in the first half. Chip Rank drained a three from the top of the key and Ted Friedman added a free throw for Northern Iowa.
Carter threw down a two-handed slam from a VanVleet assist that saw Wichita State's lead climb back up to five at 17-12, but Northern Iowa quickly responded scoring the next five points on another three-pointer from Jeremy Morgan and a goal-tending layup by Deon Mitchell to tie the game at 17-17.
Early capped a 9-3 Shocker run with his second three-pointer of the game that gave Wichita State a 26-20 lead and forced a Northern Iowa timeout.
Northern Iowa cut the lead to 29-27, but VanVleet drained a trey from the right wing and assisted on Cotton's second three-pointer that expanded the lead to 35-27.
Rank made his second three-pointer of the game for Northern Iowa, and Chadrack Lufile answered for Wichita State with a three point play of his own for a 42-35 advantage. Wichita State headed into the locker room with a 44-37 edge over the Panthers.
A 6-0 run by Northern Iowa started the second half as the Panthers cut the lead to 44-43. Singleton made two jump shots that highlighted the early second half run for the Panthers.
Wichita State broke things open and answered the Panther run with a 12-1 run of their own to take a 56-44 lead. Carter highlighted the run with back to back layups for Wichita State, the latter came with a free-throw as well.
Cotton gave Wichita State its biggest lead of the game at 66-52 with a driving up and under layup. Rank hit another three for Northern Iowa and Wes Washpun scored under the basket to get the Panthers within nine at 66-57, but VanVleet hit another long distance shot to stop what would have been a late rally from Northern Iowa.
Wichita State is next in action on Tuesday, Feb. 11 when they host Southern Illinois inside Charles Koch Arena at 7 p.m.