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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.

 

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.

 

Luqman Lundy had 11 points and eight rebounds as Bradley won the MVC Tournament title for the first time since 1988.

 

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.

 

Childs started the comeback with a short jumper. Lautier-Ogunleye brought the Braves to within 49-48 with a 3-pointer. He then put his team in front to stay with four successive free throws after a dead ball foul against Luke McDonnell led to a four-point play.

 

Northern Iowa had a chance to go in front, but Green missed a jumper with five seconds left. Lautier-Ogunleye made two foul shots three seconds later.

 

Bradley claimed its third MVC crown to go with titles in 1980 and 1988. The Braves hit the 20-win mark for the 27th time in school history and second in a row.

 

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.

 

Bradley is headed to the NCAA Tournament after winning nine of their last 11 games.

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