The Shockers overcame a three-point halftime deficit with an 18-5 surge to open the second period and extended the best start to a season in school history by reaching 20 consecutive wins.
Early made six 3-pointers and wound up with 23 points. He also had 10 rebounds while Ron Baker pitched in 15 points and Tekele Cotton had 12.
Wichita State improved to 7-0 in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Daishon Knight scored 12 points for Illinois State (11-8, 4-3 MVC). The Redbirds had won seven straight home games, but their upset bid was thwarted when they could hit only one 3-point field goal in 25 attempts.