Wichita State win makes history at 35-0

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ST. LOUIS -- The 35-0 record stands out in bold face.

Putting the historic implications aside, Wichita State's latest victims are believers they got schooled by a team most deserving of a top seed and capable of beating anybody, anytime.

"Oh every bit of it, every bit of it," Cal Poly coach Joe Callero said after his team was never in contention in a 64-37 loss Friday night in the Midwest Region.

"The thing about Wichita State which we want to emulate most is they rarely, rarely take any plays off. They have very, very good players, but they are dialed in, and I think that's what separates them."

Cleanthony Early led the way with 23 points for the Shockers (35-0), who dominated from the tipoff against a first-time NCAA entrant, and the only team with a sub-.500 record in the tournament.

"We were very, very focused," coach Gregg Marshall said. "It had been a long time since we'd played and this team had our attention."

With the exception of Early, most of the glaring numbers were on defense. The losers managed 13 points in the first half and shot 21 percent.

Wichita State players were well aware that Mercer upset Duke earlier in the day. They were determined to take nothing for granted.

"Seeing all these close games, it's important for us to come out and show the world," forward Chadrack Lufile said. "Come out and play hard, and play angry."

"I thought we were pretty crisp for the most part," point guard Fred VanVleet said.

Malik Love had nine points for Cal Poly (14-20), which won the Big West Conference tournament as the No. 7 seed and beat Texas Southern in a First Four game before being held to a season low for points. Chris Eversley, the Big West tournament MVP and coming off a 19-point game, was held to six points on 2-for-14 shooting.

"I think you've got to be a well-rested, well-prepared team to have a chance against them," Calero said, referring to the Mustangs playing on short rest. "But at the end of the day, you can see why they're undefeated.

"So hats off to them."

VanVleet had eight assists, Ron Baker had seven points and nine rebounds and Kadeem Coleby had four of the team's six blocks in the Shockers' 10th consecutive double-digit victory and fourth in a row in St. Louis, where they won their first Missouri Valley Conference tournament title since 1987 by beating three opponents by an average of 20 points.

There was no suspense as second-ranked Wichita State surpassed the previous best start in 1991 by UNLV. The Runnin' Rebels went 34-0 before losing to Duke in the national semifinals. The Shockers made the Final Four a year ago as a No. 9 seed.

But a sterner test looms for Wichita State Sunday in the third round. Thus, much like before in the Missouri Valley tournament when Marshall told the team they were back to 0-0, he said the Shockers were 1-0.

"It's been a great season thus far; 35-0 is awesome," Marshall said. "Our goal is to get out of the weekend."

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