#11 Wichita State overtakes Alabama, 11-0 on the season
Updated On: Dec 17 2013 11:13:02 PM CST
Cleanthony Early scored 26 points and Fred VanVleet made two free throws with 11 seconds left to lift No. 11 Wichita State to a 72-67 victory over Alabama on Tuesday night.
Early scored nine straight points for Wichita State (11-0) during one late stretch and the Shockers extended the program's best start, answering every time the Crimson Tide (5-5) threatened to overtake them.
Rodney Cooper's 3-pointer brought Alabama to 65-64 with 1:57 remaining. VanVleet responded with a basket and Darius Carter scored on a putback with 37 seconds remaining after Trevor Releford hit two free throws. Alabama collected a long rebound but Retin Obasohan's 3-pointer missed, forcing Alabama to foul.
VanVleet iced the game at the line.
Early made 7 of 11 from the field and hit all 11 free throw attempts. The Shockers were 25 of 27 from the line.
VanVleet and Tekele Cotton each had 11 points for Wichita State, which outrebounded Alabama 38-26. Leading scorer Ron Baker was held to eight points for the second straight game since injuring his left ankle. He got in foul trouble and played just 16 minutes.
Releford led Alabama with 22 points after missing the Charleston Southern game with a hip injury
Releford also had six assists and made three 3-pointers but was scoreless in the first 14 minutes. Rodney Cooper had 14 points for Alabama.
The game marked the first time a ranked nonconference opponent had played at Coleman Coliseum since No. 5 Purdue in December 2009. The Shockers are the second-highest ranked team to visit.
They left with their second straight win over a Southeastern Conference team after beating Tennessee 70-61.
Alabama got its biggest lead, 56-53, with 6:22 left on Nick Jacobs' dunk. Then Baker hit a 3-pointer and Early went on his nine-point binge, hitting all five free throw attempts during that stretch and also scoring on a dunk after a pass from Baker.
Cooper's 3-pointer brought Alabama to 65-64 with 1:57 remaining.
The Tide had a chance to make it a one-score game with 8 seconds left but Obasohan missed the second of two free throws. Cotton then made a foul shot at the other end.
Alabama had sliced an early 10-point deficit to 33-32 at halftime. The Tide took its only lead of the half on Cooper's 3-pointer with 53 seconds left. Then Cotton answered with two free throws to give the Shockers the halftime edge.