Three wins, 3 days, Valpo advances beating Missouri St.

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              Missouri State's Keandre Cook (1) heads to the basket past Valparaiso's Daniel Sackey (4) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the semifinal round of the Missouri Valley Conference men's tournament Saturday, March 7, 2020, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Javon Freeman-Liberty scored 29 points with nine rebounds and five assists and Valparaiso beat Missouri State 89-82 Saturday to advance to the championship game of the Missouri Valley Conference.

The No. 7 seed Crusaders (19-15) beat 10th-seed Evansville Thursday and upset No. 2 seed Loyola Chicago on Friday. Valpo faces No. 4 seed Bradley on Sunday.

Isiaih Mosley hit a 3-pointer to give Missouri State (16-17) a 28-19 lead with 6:17 before halftime. The Crusaders responded with a 10-0 run, took the lead and were up 40-38 at intermission. Freeman-Liberty’s jump shot with 12:50 left extended Valpo’s lead to 61-48 and they maintained safe distance until Keandre Cook’s 3 with 21 seconds left reduced the Bears’ deficit to 85-82. Ben Krikke sank to foul shots a couple of seconds later to seal the win.

John Kiser scored 17 for the Crusaders, Krikke 11 and Donovan Clay 10.

Cook led the Bears with 26 points, Lamont West 15, Gaige Prim 12, Tulio Da Silva and Mosley 11 apiece.