Andrew Warren scored all 15 of his points in the second half and the Braves rallied from a nine-point halftime deficit to beat the Panthers 68-59 on Saturday.
The win was Bradley's first in nine tries over a ranked opponent since Carver Arena was opened in 1982.
"This is the kind of win we needed right now to give us a push toward the end of the season," Bradley coach Jim Les said. "I'm proud of the way these guys played today."
Chris Roberts scored 13 points for the Braves (13-12, 8-7). Taylor Brown and Will Egolf both had 12 points.
Bradley trailed 32-23 at halftime, but opened the second half with an 11-0 run that gave the Braves a two-point lead with 11:51 to play.
Ali Farokhmanesh had 14 points to lead the Panthers (22-3, 13-2), who shot 19.2 percent (5 of 26) from the field in the second half while Bradley was shooting 56.5 percent.
Northern Iowa finished 6 of 20 from 3-point range, while Bradley was 2 of 11. The Panthers did finish with a 38-27 rebound advantage.
"They were more aggressive than we were coming out in the second half," Panthers coach Ben Jacobson said. "They played great defense to the end, and put incredible pressure on the ball. Even though we've seen this before, today we just couldn't respond."
Jordan Eglseder and Kwadzo Ahelegbe both had 13 points for Northern Iowa.
The Panthers beat Bradley 52-50 in their earlier meeting on Jan. 12, at Northern Iowa.
It was Bradley's second win over ranked opponent this season. The Braves beat then-No. 20 Illinois 72-68 in Las Vegas on Nov. 28.