WICHITA STATE coach Gregg Marshall spent much of the week trying to convince his unbeaten, 10th-ranked Shockers that Davidson was much better than the 4-8 record it was bringing into yesterday's game.
The Wildcats would be facing their fifth ranked opponent and played much of the season without leading scorer De'Mon Brooks.
So Marshall was adamant he did not care a bit about style points after Wichita State outlasted visiting Davidson, 81-70, behind Cleanthony Early's 24 points and 10 rebounds.
"Those guys aren't going to quit; you've got to beat them," he said. "That win will look a lot better later this season."
Ron Baker had 15 points to help Wichita State (13-0) extend the best start in school history. Darius Carter scored 13 points for the Shockers and Tekele Cotton added 10.
Tyler Kalinoski had 17 points for Davidson (4-9), while Tom Droney added 12 and Brooks scored 10.
As Marshall looked over the stat sheet, he saw similar shooting percentages. What stood out was Wichita State going 28 of 41 on free throws while Davidson was just 11 of 16. Three Wildcats fouled out.
"The difference in the game was we were able to drive it better," Marshall said. "That got us to the line. Forty-one free throws is a lot for us."
Wichita State shot 27 free throws in the second half, and many were with the Shockers trying to hang on to a slim lead.
The Wildcats used a 6-0 run in less than 90 seconds on two running jumpers by Droney and a basket by Chris Czerapowicz to cut Wichita State's lead to 45-44 with 15:34 remaining.
The Shockers stemmed the tide with a 9-2 run. Davidson shot 1-for-7 during the stretch, which was capped by a three by Early that made it 55-46 with 12:15 to play, the Shockers' biggest lead of the game to that point.
In other Top 25 games
* At Oregon, Joseph Young scored 24 points and the No. 12 Ducks continued their best start in eight seasons with a 97-76 victory over Morgan State.
Richard Amardi had a season-high 16 points in his first start of the season, and Damyean Dotson scored 15 points for the Ducks (12-0), who are off to their best start since going 13-0 in 2006-07.
Justin Black scored 22 points for the Bears (3-9), and Anthony Hubbard added 15.
* At Florida, Pat Young scored 15 points, becoming the 50th player in school history to reach 1,000 in his career, as the No. 13 Gators routed Savannah State, 76-34.
Young received a standing ovation as he left the game with 5:41 remaining, waving to the crowd as his achievement was announced. Young topped the 1,000-point plateau on a putback with 7:15 to play.
Michael Frazier II had 11 points for the Gators (10-2). Casey Prather and Scottie Wilbekin chipped in 10 points each.
Jyles Smith led Savannah State (2-11) with eight points and eight rebounds.
In another game
* At Notre Dame, playing without its leading scorer, the Irish (9-4) got a big day from Eric Atkins, who scored a career-best 30 points to lead an 87-81 overtime win over Canisius (8-5).
It was a rough week for the Irish, who lost an eight-point lead against No. 3 Ohio State, then senior Jerian Grant to an academic violation, and sophomore reserve Cameron Biedscheid to transfer.