WICHITA, Kan. -- When 7-foot center Garrett Stutz was 4 of 20 from beyond the 3-point line this season, Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall heard the criticism.
"People argued he shouldn't be shooting 3s," Marshall said. "I told them it just wasn't a big enough sample size."
No one will be arguing after Wednesday night, when Stutz went 4 of 4 on 3-pointers attempts and scored 21 points to lead No. 24 Wichita State to its fifth straight victory, 73-58 over Missouri State.
Stutz, who was 7 of 8 from the field and grabbed 10 rebounds, said his long-range shooting surprised him, too.
"I was awful in warmups, honestly," he said. "I was hoping nobody was paying attention."
The Shockers (23-4, 14-2), who were playing their first game as a ranked team since 2006-07, clinched at least a tie for the Missouri Valley Conference title. Ben Smith had 14 points and David Kyles added 12 for Wichita State, 10 coming in a decisive second-half run.
Wichita State has won 13 of 14, the only loss coming in triple-overtime at Drake.
Wichita State had twice as many turnovers as Missouri State and took 22 fewer shots. But the Shockers shot 59.5 percent.
"They just have so many different pieces," Bears coach Paul Lusk said. "And they're unbelievable in transition."
Wichita State led by as many as 10 points in the first half but Missouri State closed the half on a 12-4 run to trail 34-32.
Kyles scored 10 points and had two 3-pointers in less than 3 minutes during the 15-3 run that gave Wichita State a 56-42 lead with 10:17 remaining. The Bears never threatened after that.
Wichita State made 8 of 9 shots during one first-half stretch, and Stutz hit three 3-pointers in helping build a 30-20 lead.
"Stutz gives them a guy they can always throw it inside to," Lusk said. "When he goes out and hits 3s, what are you going to do?"
Consecutive 3-pointers from Downing and Nathan Scheer sparked a 12-2 run that pulled Missouri State even at 32-all with 35 seconds to play in the half. Two free throws by Kyles gave Wichita State a slim 34-32 halftime lead despite shooting 60 percent.
"Our guys hung in there," Lusk said. "We fought hard, battled."
Stutz scored two quick baskets on a tip-in and dunk, and Demetric Williams swished a transition 3-pointer. Just 92 seconds into the half, the Shockers led 41-32 and forced a Missouri State timeout.
But the Bears went on another run to stay close, as Isaiah Rhine's baseline jumper giving Missouri State seven straight points to get within two.
The Shockers answered with 3-pointers from Williams and Kyles, followed by a layup by Kyles off a steal by Joe Ragland -- eight straight points in 60 seconds to put Wichita State ahead 49-39 with 12:39 remaining.
"We found our rhythm," Smith said. "Our emotions have been pretty good, and we found good shots."
Kyles made a contested 3-pointer and weaved his way through traffic for a transition floater with 10:17 to play, increasing the lead to 56-42.
Kyles had 10 points in less than 3 minutes, a point better than his season average.
"I thought our press was very effective," Marshall said. "It helped turn the tempo in our favor."
Three-pointers from Ragland and Stutz in an 18-second span made it 64-47 with 6:48 remaining.
Kyle Weems, Missouri State's leading scorer, had 10 points (six below his average) on 4-of-14 shooting.
"Ben did a great job on Weems," Marshall said. "That was huge. And to add 14 points when you're working that hard on the other end, he was great."
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