CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- 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.
The Rams lost in December for the first time since 2010, snapping a streak of 17 straight December wins.
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Maryland point guard Melo Trimble, considered a lock to leave the program before struggling in the second half last season, has withdrawn from the NBA draft and will return for his junior season.
Louisville's Chinanu Onuaku, who recently underwent a medical procedure to correct a heart rhythm issue detected during the combine, will keep his name in the NBA draft pool.
Andrew White III will return to the Nebraska men's basketball team next season after removing his name from the NBA draft.