ST. LOUIS (AP) - Ali Farokhmanesh scored 8 of Northern Iowa's 12 points in overtime, helping the top seed overcome a big finish from Osiris Eldridge in a 60-57 victory over Illinois State in the Missouri Valley Conference championship game Sunday.
Kwadzo Ahelegbe had 17 points and hit two free throws with 16 seconds left in OT for Northern Iowa (23-10), which earned the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The Panthers, who tied for the regular-season title, matched a school record for victories while earning their first NCAA bid since 2004.
Eldridge had 21 points and hit five 3-pointers after a scoreless first half, but he missed a long 3-point attempt at the end of regulation and another at the end of overtime.
Northern Iowa was 3-0 against Illinois State (24-9) this season, with another victory in double-overtime and all three decided by a total of 9 points.
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