Bradley grabs second successive MVC Tournament crown

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 Missouri Valley Conference championship game on Sunday.

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

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

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

Valparaiso (19-16) led 48-42 with 14:27 left in the contest.

Bradley used a 7-0 run midway through the second half to go in front to stay, 56-51. Henry snapped a 51-all tie with a fallaway jumper. Tahvanainen then drilled 3-pointer to push the lead to five.

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.

BIG PICTURE

Valparaiso: The Crusaders, in their third season in the MVC, will be hoping for an NIT or other berth.

Bradley: The Braves, located in Peoria, Illinois, have won eight of their last 10 games,

LONG STRETCH

Valparaiso played its fourth game in as many days for the first time in its post-season tournament history. The Crusaders won the Horizon League championship in 2015 with a 54-44 win over Green Bay.