ST. LOUIS -- Nathan Bilyeu made two free throws with 46 seconds left to send Southwest Missouri State, which trailed by 23 points in the first half, to a 65-61 upset victory over Southern Illinois in a semifinal game Sunday in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.
The fifth-seeded Bears (18-11) pulled off the same feat in the tournament last year against the top-seeded Salukis (26-7).
Southwest Missouri plays Creighton -- which beat Wichita State 70-60 in the other semifinal -- in the championship game at 8 p.m. Monday.
Tamarr Maclin was the only Bear in double figures with 19 points.
Darren Brooks, the conference Most Valuable Player for the second consecutive year, scored 25 points for the Salukis, who have won the regular season title for the past four years yet have not won the postseason tournament. Jamaal Tatum added 18 points for Southern Illinois.
Southwest Missouri fell behind 42-19 with 4:18 to play in the first half but ended the half on a 7-0 run to trail 42-26 and set the tone for the final 20 minutes. Full story
Johnny Mathies scored 17 points, 13 on free throws, and Nate Funk added 14 points to lead third-seeded Creighton (22-10) to victory over Wichita State.
Creighton advances to play for its ninth MVC Tournament championship. The Bluejays are 8-1 in the championship game, including 4-0 under coach Dana Altman.
Turnovers hurt Wichita State, which made 15 in the first half to just four for the Bluejays. Creighton led 33-26 at halftime.