Wes Washpun’s jumper from the top of the key bounced high off the back of the rim and fell in at the buzzer and Northern Iowa survived after squandering a 17-point lead, beating Evansville 56-54 in the Missouri Valley Conference title game Sunday.
Washpun had 18 points, five rebounds and three assists for Northern Iowa (22-12). Klint Carlson added 17 points for the fourth seed, which repeated as champion. The Panthers beat top seed Wichita State in overtime in the semifinals before dispatching second seed Evansville (25-9) for the third time this season — all of them close.
D.J. Balentine had 20 points and Jaylon Brown added 18 for Evansville, which hasn’t made it to the NCAA Tournament since 1999. The conference tourney winner gets an automatic bid and Wichita State could get an at-large bid.