Wichita State swaggers to 32-0

ST. LOUIS — No. 2 Wichita State is still perfect. Calm and collected, too, in a 32nd straight win.

The top-seeded Shockers stayed unbeaten with an 80-58 romp over Evansville in the quarterfinals of the Missouri Valley tournament Friday.

"I love how this team goes about their business, their approach and how resolute they are," coach Gregg Marshall said. "They're really, really focused and locked in to the next challenge, and that's how you win 32 in a row."

If they're feeling pressure from the streak, their opponents never noticed. "Fantastic to see what they're doing," Evansville guard D.J. Balentine said after scoring 31. "If people say they don't deserve a No. 1 seed, that's silly."

Cleanthony Early and Ron Baker scored 17 apiece, and Wichita State set a tournament record with 11 blocked shots, shot 51 percent and held Evansville to 37 percent.

"Got to have some erasers back there," guard Fred VanVleet said.

Balentine made seven 3-pointers for ninth-seeded Evansville (14-19), which lost twice by an average of 15 points to Wichita State (32-0) in the regular season.

"It's hard for us to just make passes from A to B," coach Marty Simmons said. "They play hard. They challenge every catch."

Kadeem Coleby had six of the blocks for the Shockers, who are two victories shy of matching the NCAA record of 34 wins to start a season by UNLV in 1990-91. UNLV was perfect before losing in the NCAA semifinals to Duke that season.

Harvard first to lock up berth: Siyani Chambers scored 17 and Harvard became the first team to clinch a berth in this year's NCAA Tournament with a 70-58 win over rival Yale to capture the Ivy League title in New Haven, Conn.

Steve Moundou-Missi added 16 points and Brandyn Curry chipped in with 14 for Harvard (25-4, 12-1), which won its seventh straight.

Harvard, which had already secured at least a share of the Ivy title for the fourth straight year, will make its third straight trip to the NCAA Tournament.

SSC Tournament: E.J. Moody scored 18 and Malcolm Brunner 17 as seventh-seeded Eckerd (17-13) beat sixth seed Nova Southeastern 66-52 to advance to today's semifinals of the Sunshine State Conference tournament in Kissimmee. Eckerd plays top seed Florida Southern at noon, and No. 2 Saint Leo plays No. 3 Tampa at 5.

UCF 104, Houston 83: Isaiah Sykes scored 24 and Daiquan Walker 20 as the host Knights (12-17, 4-14 American Athletic) coasted.

Women

ACC Tournament: Jewell Loyd scored 17 to lead top-seeded and No. 2-ranked Notre Dame (30-0) to a 93-57 victory over Florida State in its ACC tournament debut in Greensboro, N.C.

Notre Dame ran off 21 straight points in the first half to turn its quarterfinal with the ninth-seeded Seminoles (20-11) into a rout. FSU's Natasha Howard went 14-for-22 from the field for 29 points with five rebounds and two blocks.

Notre Dame advanced to today's semifinals against No. 14 North Carolina State, which beat Syracuse 79-63 as Markeisha Gatling scored a career-high 28 for the Wolfpack (25-6) before leaving with a knee injury in the second half.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth Williams scored 15 and blocked five shots, and No. 10 Duke (26-5) claimed their 37th straight win over Georgia Tech, 82-52. Tricia Liston hit her school-record-tying 80th 3-pointer of the season.

The Blue Devils meet No. 13 North Carolina, which beat No. 8 Maryland 73-70. Diamond DeShields scored 22 while fellow freshman Allisha Gray added 17 to help the sixth-seeded Tar Heels (24-8) top the Terps (24-6).

SEC Tournament: DeNesha Stallworth scored 13 and No. 12-ranked Kentucky (23-7) advanced to today's SEC semifinals for the fifth straight year with a 75-70 victory in Duluth, Ga., over Florida (19-12). Cassie Peoples and Kayla Lewis each scored 18 for the Gators, who had swept two regular-season games with Kentucky.

The Wildcats advance to play No. 5-ranked South Carolina (27-3), a 67-48 winner over Georgia. Alaina Coates scored 13, Elem Ibiam 12 points for the top-seeded Gamecocks, who advanced to tournament semifinals for the second time in three years.

Also, No. 6-ranked Tennessee (25-5) beat LSU 77-65 as Isabelle Harrison scored 21, and Meighan Simmons and Bashaara Graves each added 14. The Vols play No. 15 Texas A&M today. The Aggies (24-7) beat Auburn 86-54 as Courtney Walker sank her first seven shots and scored 25.

Other ranked teams in conference tournaments:

No. 4 Stanford 69, Colorado 54: Chiney Ogwumike scored 13 of her 19 points in the second half, and the Cardinal (29-2) advanced to the Pac-12 semifinals in Seattle. Stanford, the top seed in the tournament, was held to a season-low 21 points in the first half. Stanford faces either Southern Cal or Arizona State in today's semifinals.

Ohio State 99, No. 11 Penn St. 82: Ameryst Alston scored 33 and Cait Craft 24 as the eighth-seeded Buckeyes (17-17) stunned the top-seeded Nittany Lions (22-7) in the Big Ten Conference quarterfinals in Indianapolis. The Buckeyes shot 71.9 percent in the first half when they made all 10 of their 3-pointers for a 58-34 lead. The 58 points were a tournament record. The Nittany Lions (22-7) were led by Ariel Edwards' career-high 29 points. The Buckeyes next face Iowa.

No. 16 Neb. 80, Minn. 67: Jordan Hooper scored 33 as the third-seeded Cornhuskers (23-6) reached today's semifinals of the Big Ten tournament in Indianapolis.

No. 19 Mich. St. 61, Michigan 58: Annalise Pickrel scored 18 and the Spartans (22-8) rallied to reach the Big Ten semifinals against Nebraska.

No. 23 Iowa 87, No. 17 Purdue 80: Ally Disterhoft scored 12 as the Hawkeyes (25-7) closed with a 24-11 run to advance to the Big Ten semifinals.

SSC tournament: Keishara Green scored 23 as fourth-seeded Saint Leo (20-8) beat sixth-seeded Florida Tech 67-59 to advance to today's Sunshine State Conference semi­final against top-seeded Tampa at 2:30 p.m. in Kissimmee. Third seed Nova Southeastern plays No. 2 Rollins at 7:30.

Wichita State swaggers to 32-0 03/07/14 [Last modified: Saturday, March 8, 2014 12:30am]

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