#5 Bradley (57) vs. #6 UNI (54)
RECORDS AND TOURNAMENT NOTES: Today’s championship game attendance is 8,108. Bradley’s win on an 18-point comeback marks the largest deficit overcome in the MVC tourney title game to win, toping UNI’s 2015 comeback of a 14-point deficit to win 69-60. Bradley becomes just the second No. 5 seed ever to win the MVC Tournament, joining Indiana State which won three straight games in 2001. Ironically, the Sycamores upset then No. 2 seeded Bradley in the championship, 69-63. This also marks Bradley’s third MVC Tournament championship (others: 1980, 1988) and first-ever won in St. Louis. The Braves snap a three-game losing streak in MVC Tournament title games.
BRADLEY WIN: The Braves, winning their ninth game in the last 11 outings (including third straight), improve to 20-14. The marks the 27th time in school history Bradley has won 20 or more games in a season, including the second straight under coach Brian Wardle. Bradley improves its MVC Tournament record to 35-37, including a 3-4 record in the championship games and a 3-3 tourney record against UNI.
UNI LOSS: The Panthers, who had a two-game winning streak snapped, closed out the season with a 16-18 record. UNI’s MVC Tournament record falls to 25-22 including a 5-2 record in championship games, a 4-3 mark as a #6 seed and a 3-3 record against Bradley.
BRADLEY NOTES: Luqman Lundy had career highs in rebounds with 8 and points with 11 (tied), all in the second half. Childs with 16, Lautier-Ogunleye with 13 and Lundy with 11 were the top Bradley scorers in the game. The trio combined for 34 of Bradley’s 42 points in the second half. Elijah Childs had three blocks, marking his fifth game this season with three or more.
UNI NOTES: This Ben Jacobsen’s first loss in six trips to the MVC title game. AJ Green scored 23 to lead UNI, reaching 20 or more points for the 10th time. It was the third straight MVC tourney game a UNI player scored 20-plus points, with Wyatt Lohaus getting 21 and 27 in the first two games before Green’s 23 today.
FIRST HALF: After Bradley got its first basket, the Panthers had a 11-0 run for a 14-2 lead on treys by AJ Green, Trae Berhow and Isaiah Brown in the first four minutes. UNI hit 4 of its first 6 shots while Bradley started 1 of 6. Green buried another long one at the 14:40 mark before Darrell Brown got Bradley’s second basket to make it 14-4. Bradley kept going and put together a 9-0 run to cut its deficit to 14-11 midway in the half. UNI got two more treys to open a 21-13 bulge with seven minutes left. UNI expanded its edge to 25-13 by the three-minute mark of the half. Bradley was scoreless for 8:36 minutes in UNI’s 11-0 run before snapping its drought on a short jumper by Elijah Childs with 27 seconds left in the half as the Braves closed to within 27-15 at halftime. The Panthers shot .323 (10/31) in the first half, hitting 5 of 11 from three-point range, while Bradley lagged at .222 (6/27). Green led UNI with 10 points. Bradley tied the tourney mark with the fewest points in the first half of a championship game at 15.
SECOND HALF: The Panthers had a quick 5-0 run to move in front 32-17 after 90 seconds in the second half. Green’s third trey made it 35-17 with 17 minutes left. At that point, UNI had hit three-pointers on seven of its 12 field goals and Bradley’s Nate Kennell had the Braves’ only three among Bradley’s seven baskets. Bradley put together an 8-0 run to close to within 38-30 at the 11:40 mark, with the Braves hitting four shots in a row. The run went to 10-0 as Elijah Childs hit a short jumper in the lane and he then followed wit a driving layup down the left side and it was a 38-34 game before AJ Green stopped the Bradley run with a goal. UNI got a basket from Wyatt Lohaus but Bradley ran its field goal string to eight in a row as the pace of the game heated up. Kennell’s second long trey cut the gap to 44-41 but Green hit a turnaround in the lane as UNI was in a run of four field goals made in a row. Green scored again to make it 48-41 with 6:20 to play. Bradley ran off five quick points to slice the lead to 48-46 at the 4:36 mark. Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye hit a three to give Bradley its first lead of the game with
3:44 to play at 47-46 and then teams traded baskets and the lead three times in the next minute. Lautier-Ogunleye hit two free throws on a UNI personal foul with 1:58 left and then added two more on a technical foul in the same play to push BU ahead 53-50. Childs then hit a layup to make it 55-50. Luke McDonnell scored but missed his free throw with 1:18 left. Green cut the gap to 55-54 with 40 seconds left for UNI on a left wing jumper. Green missed a short jumper with 2.4 seconds left and the ball went out of bounds, Bradley possession. A UNI foul before the ball was inbounded sent Lautier-Ogunleye to the line and he made both charity tries to put Bradley in front 57-54. Lohaus missed a 30-footer ahead of the final horn to end it.