After dropping the first road game of the season to a resurgent Oregon State program, the Cyclones bounced back with an (eventually) comfortable win over an outmatched Northern Illinois squad.
Once again, Iowa State got off to a slow start, as they struggled to knock down jump shots, especially from distance. Zion Griffin came off the bench to generate at least a small spark, but the Cyclones still had some tough sledding through the majority of the first half. Poor efforts on the glass and a lack of focus on defense didn’t help the cause, as the Huskies eventually jumped out to an eight point lead with just nine minutes left in the first half.
Finally, the Cyclones found some life in the final few minutes, as strong efforts from Michael Jacobson and Rasir Bolton led the “comeback.” However, Northern Illinois took a 34-31 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The second half started much better for Iowa State, as a couple quick buckets and defensive stops allowed Iowa State to take the lead just a couple minutes into the half. The Cyclones still struggled to score from outside, but were efficient down low with Conditt and Bolton leading the way. After a transition alley oop dunk, Conditt was whistled for his fourth foul.
After Conditt hit the bench, Solomon Young stepped up his game, tallying his 15th point of the night on a turnaround jumper before the Huskies called a timeout with 9:57 left to play. The defensive intensity made a significant jump, as Young took over as a rim protector down low.
Over the next few minutes, Iowa State forced a handful of turnovers, which they converted at the rim in transition, though they continued to struggle from three.
The balance of the game largely ended up as a chuck fest by Northern Illinois, and Iowa State turning those rebounds into points, albeit in an inefficient manner.
Next up is Southern Miss at home on 11/19 in the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis.