Normal, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Nate Buss' 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds to play gave No. 20 Northern Iowa a 54-53 victory over Illinois State
The Panthers were trailing by a point when Daishon Knight missed a free throw with 14.5 seconds left and Seth Tuttle grabbed the rebound.
Wes Washpun then sent the ball to Buss, who had an open look from the right corner and drained it.
Knight charged down the court and put up a tough layup at the buzzer, but it hit off the bottom of the rim as Northern Iowa escaped with the victory.
Tuttle had 21 points and 10 rebounds, while Buss finished the game with eight points for the Panthers (18-2, 7-1 MVC), who have won their past seven games.
Bobby Hunter had 13 points and five rebounds off the bench while Reggie Lynch and Paris Lee each scored 12 for the Redbirds (12-8, 4-4), who had a two-game winning streak snapped.
This game was close through the first half, as neither team led by more than four, and the contest was tied at 24-24 entering the second half.
With the game still tied at 33-all six minutes into the second half, Illinois State went on a 9-0 run that saw the team hold a 42-33 lead after Hunter put in a layup with 12 minutes to play.
The Redbirds built their lead to 12 points before a Buss 3-pointer kicked off an 11-0 run by the Panthers that cut their deficit to one after Marvin Singleton hit a layup with seven minutes to play.
Northern Iowa plays at Southern Illinois on Wednesday ... Illinois State hosts Missouri State on Wednesday ... Illinois State still leads the all-time series, 37-30 ... The Panthers shot 46.2 percent, while the Redbirds hit on 34.4 percent of their attempts.