Junior forward Nate Buss came off the bench to post 16 points and seven rebounds, leading Northern Iowa to a 77-68 victory over Virginia Commonwealth on Saturday at McLeod Center in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Junior guard Treveon Graham and freshman guard Jordan Burgess each scored 18 points for the Rams (8-2), who had won four in a row. Freshman guard JeQuan Lewis came off the bench to score 13 points on 4-of-7 shooting, including 3-of-4 from 3-point range.
Northern Iowa shot 53.1 percent from the field while holding Virginia Commonwealth to 36.9 percent, and the Panthers amassed a 41-32 rebounding advantage. They also outscored the Rams, 19-10, at the free-throw line.
Northern Iowa held a 27-20 lead at halftime, but Virginia Commonwealth rallied to tie the game, 44-44, on a 3-pointer by Lewis with 12:18 remaining, but the Panthers answered with a 7-0 run to go up, 51-44.
The Rams cut the deficit to three when junior guard Briante Weber scored with 4:23 to play. Virginia Commonwealth trailed by four after Lewis made another 3-pointer with 1:41 to go, but the Panthers made 8- of-10 free throws over the final 1:23 to hold on for the victory.