Tekele Cotton scored 18 points and fourth-ranked Wichita State beat Northern Iowa 82-73 on Saturday night, clearing perhaps its toughest remaining hurdle for an unbeaten regular season.
Cleanthony Early had all 16 of his points in the first half for the Shockers (25-0, 12-0 Missouri Valley Conference).
They became the first team to open 25-0 since Derrick Rose helped Memphis win its first 26 games in 2007-08.
Northern Iowa got as close as 44-43 before Wichita State went on a 12-1 run early in the second half.
The Panthers pulled back within single digits before Fred VanVleet's 3-pointer made it 69-57 with just more than 5 minutes left.
Matt Bohannon had 17 points and Seth Tuttle scored 16 for the Panthers (11-13, 5-7), who were outrebounded 40-24.