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Beane refused to let the Salukis wilt under the pressure.

The sophomore guard kept slicing through Wichita State’s man-to-man defense for baskets near the rim, more than once drawing contact along the way. When the Shockers finally clamped down on him, he deftly found the open teammate for wide-open looks.

Pendleton’s three-point play pulled the Salukis to 69-64 with 2½ minutes left, but Baker answered with his third 3-pointer at the other end. The Shockers turned up the pressure and forced Sean O’Brien into a turnover, and that led to a run-out by Baker, who was fouled and calmly made both free throws.

Still with a chance to make it a game, Southern Illinois promptly turned it over again, and this time the Salukis allowed VanVleet to go for an uncontested layup that made it 76-64.

“There’s a reason they’re 26-0. They’re damn good!” Hinson said. “But they made shots and that crowd just went nuts, and we came down and said, ‘Hey, it’s close to April 15. We’ll just give you the ball and we’ll get a tax deduction!’”

Wichita State merely had to coax the final seconds off the clock to wrap up the win.

“Just survive,” Marshall said. “That was not our best effort, obviously. They get a lot of credit for that. They had a great game plan. They packed it in and we didn’t make any shots from the arc. It was a good strategy. Finally we made some in the second half and pulled away slowly, but give them credit. They played well.”