S. Illinois 55, N. Iowa 46
ST. LOUIS (AP)—Matt Shaw scored six of his 15 points in overtime, helping Southern Illinois hold off Northern Iowa 55-46 in the semifinals of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament on Saturday.
Jamaal Tatum added 12 points and Bryan Mullins had 10, including a driving, twisting layup that forced overtime. Southern Illinois, the No. 2 seed, will play No. 5 Bradley in the championship game on Sunday.
Ben Jacobson had 13 points and five assists and Erik Crawford added 11 points for sixth-seeded Northern Iowa (23-9), which shot only 35 percent and has lost five of seven. That slump for the preseason league favorites includes a one-point loss at Southern Illinois (21-10) in the regular-season finale last Saturday.
The teams split regular-season meetings, one by a point and the other going to double-overtime, and this was more of the same. Neither team led by more than three points in the second half, a tight, defensive struggle.
The layup by Mullins with 33 seconds left was the second tie of the half. Northern Iowa held the ball for a last shot, but Jacobson’s 3-point attempt with about two seconds to go was long.
Southern Illinois immediately took control in overtime on Randal Falker’s dunk and resulting 3-point play with 4:42 left. Two free throws by Shaw made it 45-40 with 2:35 to go, and another basket from the key made it 47-42 with 1:48 left.
Shaw also hit a pair of free throws with 1:08 to go to provide a five-point lead for the third time.
Northern Iowa led by as many as six points in the first half, despite shooting 30 percent and getting no points from Jacobson, who averages a team-leading 14 points. Southern Illinois closed the gap in the final three minutes with two baskets by Tatum, who had missed four of his first five shots, and a basket off a loose ball in the lane by Matt Shaw tied it at 20 with 2.5 seconds left.
The semifinals drew a record crowd of 17,772, over 2,000 more than the previous record.