Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall had a schedule planned for this week.
In a subdued locker room after 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 and led Wichita State, 22-0 and 9-0 in the Missouri Valley Conference. No other Shocker scored more than seven points, and the rest of the team was a combined three of 19 (15.7 percent) from the field in the second half.
Freshman Milton Doyle, a transfer from Kansas, scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half for Loyola, 8-13 and 3-6.
Wichita State led 42-20 with 17:05 remaining before Loyola cut the lead to 52-43 with 2:27 left. That was as close as the Ramblers came.
The Shockers remained one of the nation’s three unbeaten teams and tied the 1985-86 Bradley team for the third-longest winning streak by a Missouri Valley team.
The top two Valley winning streaks are Cincinnati (37 from 1961 to 1963) and Indiana State (33 in 1978-79).
The Shockers’ Fred 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.”