Normal, IL (Sports Network) - Cleanthony Early came up big in the clutch with a go-ahead 3-pointer with six seconds left as the Wichita State Shockers rallied back to collect a 68-67 victory over the Illinois State Redbirds in a Missouri Conference thriller at Redbird Arena.
Anthony missed his first four field goal attempts before making his final two when it mattered most to finish with 12 points for Wichita State (22-5, 11-4 MVC), which trailed by 10 points with only four minutes left to play. Malcolm Armstead netted 18 points and Carl Hall added 13. Demetric Williams contributed 10 points, seven rebounds and four assists as the Shockers notched their third win in a row.
Tyler Brown paced Illinois State (16-11, 7-8) with 17 points and Johnny Hill provided a spark off the bench with 14 points and two steals. Jackie Carmichael and Bryant Allen scored 12 points apiece with the former also accounting for nine rebounds. The loss ended the Redbirds' four-game winning streak.
Illinois State took a 27-20 lead into halftime after it made up for 24 percent shooting from the field by converting 13-of-15 at the charity stripe in the first period. The Shockers drained only 30.8 percent of their field goal tries and went 2-of-8 at the free-throw line before the break.
The Redbirds heated up to hit on 47.8 percent of their attempts from the field and knocked down 17 of their 18 tries at the charity stripe after the intermission. Wichita State caught fire as well, as it hit on 53.6 percent of its field goal attempts including 7-of-13 from beyond the arc to rally back in the second stanza.
The hosts looked like they were destined for their fifth straight victory as they held a 65-60 lead with 51 seconds left. After Armstead missed a 3-point attempt, Carmichael was called for a flagrant foul after striking a Wichita State player with his foot while on the way to the surface with the rebound from Armstead's miss. Anthony made a pair of free throws before Williams made it a two-point affair with a triple. Hill committed a costly turnover on the next ISU possession which set up Early for his late game heroics. Carmichael missed a jumper on the Redbirds' final possession to end the contest.
Illinois State's 30-of-33 showing at the charity stripe in the game was not enough to overcome its 35.4 percent clip from the field. The Shockers held a 22-7 edge in bench points.