Will Franklin hit a 3-pointer with 2.7 seconds remaining in the game, breaking a tie and setting a match-up with Southern Illinois Saturday.
Bradley led by as many as 14 points in the first half, before allowing Northern Iowa to claw its way back into the game. Northern Iowa's Grant Stout led all scorers with 19, including a 3-pointer that put the Panthers in front 48-46 with 2:15 to play.
The Braves (21-11) will face top-seeded Southern Illinois Saturday at 1:30. The winner of that game advances to Sunday's championship, which can be seen at 1 on WMBD-TV.