- Associated Press - Saturday, December 13, 2014

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Ben Jacobson made no apologies for leaving Northern Iowa scoring leader Seth Tuttle on the bench for long stretches of the second half, and two overtimes. Wes Washpun almost made it look brilliant.

Washpun scored a career-high 27 points before fouling out in the second overtime, and the 23rd-ranked Panthers (9-1) lost 93-87 at VCU on Saturday night. Washpun’s previous best was 18 points, accomplished twice.

Tuttle, who averages 16 points, played 21 minutes and scored just five points.

“We had fallen behind by 11 and I felt like we needed somebody different in at that spot to stretch the floor,” Jacobson said about leaving Tuttle, a 6-foot-8 mostly low-post player, on the bench.

Behind Washpun, who scored on a series of acrobatic drives, the Panthers came all the way back.

“I got hot going to my left and made some finishes,” the junior said. “I practice those shots.”

The Panthers actually rallied to go ahead 73-71 on Matt Bohannon’s 3-pointer late in regulation, but Treveon Graham tied it for VCU and the Rams then held UNI without a shot for 34-plus seconds to end regulation knotted.

“We just wanted to get back on track, and this game really did that for us,” Graham said.

In the first overtime, Bohannon tied it with another 3 with 28 seconds left.

Graham scored 21 points, including a tightly contested 3-pointer in the second overtime, and VCU (6-3) beat a ranked team for the first time since topping No. 16 Saint Louis last March 1.

Briante Weber added 14 points and Melvin Johnson 12 for the Rams.

The Panthers, looking to tie the best start in school history, also got 18 points from Bohannon.

Doug Brooks hit a 3-pointer for VCU to start the scoring in the second overtime, and Bohannon had a chance to tie it when he scored and was fouled. But he missed the free throw, and with the shot clock nearing zero, Graham made a long 3 with Marvin Singleton in his face.

Washpun fouled out, and Weber added a pair of free throws.

VCU led throughout the first overtime, but by no more than 3, and Bohannon’s 3-pointer tied it with 28 seconds to go. The Rams held the ball for one shot after a timeout, but Graham’s 3-point try was closed guarded and missed badly.

The Panthers trailed 71-66 with 2 minutes to go in regulation. Washpun hit a pair of free throws and a layup and Bohannon made a 3-pointer to give them a 73-71 lead with 49 seconds left. Graham tied it with an inside basket 35 seconds to go, and the Rams kept UNI without a shot on its final possession, forcing OT.

The Rams led throughout the second half, but had trouble getting any separation until Mo Alie-Cox scored on a putback, sparking a 7-0 run that gave them their largest lead at 59-50. Graham had a 3-pointer off a two-man exchange with Johnson and Brooks finished it with a layup with 8:48 to play.

VCU pushed its lead to as high as 65-54, but UNI quickly put together a 12-2 burst with Paul Jesperson and Bohannon hitting 3-pointers. The Panthers, who started 1 for 8 from the foul line, rallied by making eight in a row.

TIP-INS

Northern Iowa: The Panthers made 10 of their first 13 shots - that made them 25 for 30 overall in two games, starting with the second half Wednesday night against Denver.

VCU: The Panthers’ visit marked the first time VCU had hosted ranked teams in back-to-back games. They lost 74-57 to then-No. 7 Virginia in their last home game a week ago.

UP NEXT

Northern Iowa plays Iowa next Saturday.

VCU hosts Belmont on Tuesday night.

___

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