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Cinderella Valpo Returns

Valparaiso, led by Zoran Viskovic's 21 points, captured its fifth straight Mid-Continent title by beating Oral Roberts 73-69 in the finals of the league's postseason tournament Tuesday night.

The Crusaders (23-8), who made it to the Sweet 16 a year ago, get the conference's automatic NCAA tournament berth again.

The Golden Eagles (17-11) were ahead most of the first half and held a 32-31 lead at halftime.

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  • But Valparaiso went ahead for good right after the break. Baskets by Viskovic and Lubos Barton gave the Crusaders a 35-32 lead. Their biggest advantage would be 56-45 with 10:02 left.

    Chad Wilkerson, the Mid-Con Player of the Year, hit a 3-pointer with 2:38 remaining to bring Oral Roberts within 63-61. But he fouled out shortly after and the Eagles got no closer.

    Valparaiso fans began to celebrate when Greg Tonagel dropped in three free throws with under a minutes to play.

    Oral Roberts was led by Leon Irving's 19 points and Reggie Tate's 17.

    Milo Stovall, the tournament MVP, had 16 points for Valparaiso while holding Wilkerson to 12, five under his average.

    Valparaiso was the first team in the last six Mid-Con tourneys not seeded No. 1 to emerge as champion.

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