ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall felt coming into the weekend that his team needed to win the Missouri Valley Conference tournament to secure a place in the NCAA Tournament.
After beating Illinois State 65-61 Saturday in the semifinals, Marshall's Shockers are now one game away from doing just that.
"I'm very pleased to win and have a chance now to win another championship on CBS," Marshall said. "It's been a long time coming for the Shocks and for me personally in the last couple years. Now we have that stage. We're looking forward to the opportunity."
Toure' Murry led the charge for the Shockers with 17 points. Demetric Williams came off the bench to contribute 12.
The Shockers (25-8) have not played in the championship game since 1991 -- the season the MVC tournament moved to St. Louis. They will face the No. 1 seed, Northern Iowa, on Sunday. The Panthers (27-4) defeated Bradley 57-40 in the other semifinal Saturday afternoon.
Garrett Stutz had 12 points and five rebounds for Wichita State before fouling out.
Dinma Odiakosa had 15 points and Lloyd Phillips 13 points for Illinois State (22-10).
Odiakosa's line could have been better, but he was just 5-for-13 from the free-throw line. Illinois State was 14-for-26 (54 percent), while Wichita State went 15-for-20, a 75 percent clip.
Wichita State led just 55-51 when Murry drained a jumper with 2:05 left. JT Durley then hit the first of two free-throw attempts at the 1:40 mark. He missed the second, but Stutz rebounded and put it home to make it 60-51.
Illinois State closed to within 63-61 but could never get the equalizer.
Illinois State had a 12-10 lead with 10:55 left in the first half after Odiakosa made one of two free throws. But Williams then put the Shockers on his back, as he scored the next seven points to give Wichita State a 17-12 lead. The Shockers finished the half on an 8-2 run and took a 30-24 lead into the locker room.
The Redbirds were their own worst enemy in the first half, as they went 6-for-13 from the free-throw line and turned the ball over 11 times.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
For breaking news alerts, text KMOVNEWS to 21321
Have you seen the forecast for tomorrow?
Get the latest St. Louis weather forecast