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Darrell Brown scored 21 points and Elijah Childs added 17 to lead fourth-seeded Bradley to its 10th NCAA Tournament with an 80-66 win over seventh-seeded Valparaiso in the MVC championship game.

 

Ja'Shon Henry scored 16 points for the Braves, Nate Kennell chipped in with 14 points and Ville Tahvanainen added 10.

 

Javon Freeman-Liberty paced Valparaiso with 22 points and 10 rebounds.

 

Bradley (23-11) claimed its fourth MVC title and became the ninth team in history to defend its tournament crown.

 

Brown hit on six of 14 shots including a 4 of 6 effort from 3-point range. He kick-started a 38-18 run over the final 12 minutes and 2 seconds with a jumper that the game 49-all. His 3-pointer later in the run pushed the lead to 62-52. He also added nine assists.

 

Valparaiso (19-16) led 48-42 before the Braves took charge.

 

Bradley rallied from an 18-point second-half deficit to beat Northern Iowa 57-54 in last year's MVC final.

 

The six-point hole on Sunday was nothing for the Braves, who have played well down the stretch over the past month.

 

Tahvanainen hit a big 3-pointer to cap off a 7-0 run that put the Braves ahead for good 56-51.

 

Valparaiso used a 9-2 blitz over the last 3:37 of the first half to take a 38-36 lead into the break.

 

The Braves were a 15th-seed in last year's NCAA Tournament and lost to Michigan State 76-65 in the opening round.

 

Bradley's 23 victories is the most since the 1993-94 team went 23-8 under coach Jim Molinari.

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