Defense leads Northern Iowa to Valley title - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Defense leads Northern Iowa to Valley title

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ST. LOUIS (KWWL) - Kwadzo Ahelegbe had 24 points and Northern Iowa used a dominating defensive second half to beat Wichita State 67-52 on Sunday for its second straight Missouri Valley Conference tournament title.

Northern Iowa (28-4) rode defense to the regular-season title and did it again at Arch Madness, holding the Shockers without a field goal for more than 12 minutes during a 25-3 second-half run.

The Panthers earned the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA tournament and are the first team since Illinois State in 1997-98 to sweep both Valley titles in consecutive years.

Wichita State (25-9) kept it close with 3-point shooting early in its first MVC title game since 1991, but hit just 6 of 26 shots in the second half and shot a season-low 32 percent overall. Now, the Shockers will have to wait an agonizing week before learning their NCAA tournament fate.

Online News Director Nate Leding

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