Buss scores 16 to help lead Northern Iowa by Virginia Commonwealth 77-68

Nate Buss scored 16 points to lead a hot-shooting Northern Iowa team over Virginia Commonwealth 77-68 on Saturday.

Northern Iowa (5-5) shot 53.1 percent from the field and held off VCU (8-3) down the stretch.

The Panthers led 27-20 at half and never trailed in the second half. VCU tied the game at 44 midway through the second half, but Northern Iowa responded with a 7-0 run, sparked by a Buss 3-pointer.

VCU trailed 63-60 with 3:10 left before Wes Washpun was fouled and hit two free throws for Northern Iowa. The Panthers made 8 of 10 free throws in the final 2 minutes to maintain the lead.

Jeremy Morgan had 13 points for Northern Iowa and Deon Mitchell added 11.

Treveon Graham and Jordan Burgess each scored 18 for VCU.

The Rams lost in December for the first time since 2010, snapping a streak of 17 straight December wins.