RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Richmond coach Chris Mooney has sung the praises of sophomore Tyler Burton before, but he cranked up the expectations Wednesday night after Burton’s best game yet.
“As I’ve said a couple of times, I think he’s going to be one of the great Richmond players of all-time,” Mooney said of the 6-foot-7 forward. “He just can do so many things.”
Burton had 21 points and 13 rebounds and No. 19 Richmond used a 21-6 run in the second half to pull away from Northern Iowa, 78-68. He was 7 of 9 from the field overall, 3 of 5 from 3-point territory and made all four of his free throws in 37 minutes.
He also had plenty of help.
Grant Golden added 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Spiders (4-0). Blake Francis scored 16 points and Jacob Gilyard had 12 points and 11 assists. The Spiders won their second straight since joining the Top 25 despite seeing their bench get outscored 27-6.
“We have to forget about the ranking,” Burton said. “It’s just a target on our back really.”
Tywhon Pickford scored 16 points for Northern Iowa (1-4), Austin Phyfe had 15 and Trae Berhow added 13. The Panthers, who tied a school record with 20 3-pointers in their opening loss to Western Kentucky, made only three of 19 tries against the Spiders.
“They do a nice job of getting to you in a hurry,” Panthers coach Ben Jacobson said. “You may feel like you’re open and they close the gap. That was part of it.”
The Spiders trailed 39-36 before a basket by Francis sparked the big run. He and Burton each scored five points in the burst, which ended with the Spiders ahead 57-45 with 10 minutes to play. The Panthers didn’t get closer than five the rest of the way.
The Spiders led 19-14 before going cold as the Panthers went on an 18-3 run to lead 32-22 with 4 minutes left in the half. Richmond closed with a 9-1 run to get back within 33-31.
Northern Iowa: The Panthers played their second consecutive game without guard A.J. Green, whose season appears to be jeopardized by a hip injury. The preseason player of the year in the Missouri Valley Conference, Green averaged 22.3 points and 36.3 minutes in the first three games of the season.
Jacobson said Green is “still gathering opinions” about the best course of action to take and called him “one of the best guards in the country,” not only because he can create his own shot, but the attention he draws from defenses opens things up for everyone else.
Richmond: The Spiders continue to reach milestones. Their victory Monday against Wofford came in their first game as a top 20 team since December 1957 and the victory against the Panthers gave them back-to-back 4-0 starts to the season for the first time since the 1953-54 and 1954-55 seasons. The 1954-55 team won its first five games.
Those come on Sunday for the Spiders when they travel to Morgantown, West Virginia to play the 11th-ranked Mountaineers.
The Panthers are back at home against Wisconsin-Green Bay on Saturday.
Richmond plays at No. 11 West Virginia on Sunday.
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