ST. LOUIS (AP) — A huge rally by Bradley resulted in quite a reward — its first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2006.
Down by 18 points with 17 minutes left, Elijah Childs and the Braves surged past Northern Iowa 57-54 Sunday in the Missouri Valley Conference championship game.
“You can’t make this up,” Childs said. “We rode the wave and did the course.”
Childs scored 16 points and Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye added 13 for fifth-seeded Bradley (20-14).
The Braves advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the ninth time overall — in their last appearance, as a 13th seed, they beat Kansas and Pittsburgh before losing to Memphis.
Bradley trailed 35-17 before breaking loose. The Braves used a 12-0 run to get close.
AJ Green led sixth-seeded Northern Iowa (16-18) with 23 points.
The Panthers took a 48-41 lead on Green’s jumper with just over six minutes left. Bradley closed the game on a 16-6 run over the final 5:58.
Bradley had separate stretches of nearly nine minutes and more than six minutes where it didn’t score in the first half, then hit 15 of 26 shots after the break.
Northern Iowa was well on the way to its ninth NCAA Tournament appearance when it took a 38-28 lead midway through the final half.
“Their offense was just better than our defense in that four, five-minute stretch,” Northern Iowa coach Ben Jacobson said. “They had some guys hit some big shots.”
UNI 60, Drake 58
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Wyatt Lohaus had a career-high 27 points as Northern Iowa narrowly defeated Drake 60-58 in the semifinals of the MVC Tournament on Saturday.
Trae Berhow had 12 points and six rebounds for Northern Iowa.
Anthony Murphy had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulldogs (24-9). Tremell Murphy added 13 points.
Newton’s Garrett Sturtz finished with seven points and four rebounds.