AMES, Iowa - On a night when Iowa State couldn't buy a basket from beyond the arc, the Cyclones leaned on their second-half defense to avoid an early home upset.
Rasir Bolton scored 17 points, Solomon Young added 15 and Iowa State rallied from an early double-digit deficit to overwhelm Northern Illinois 70-52 on Tuesday.
Michael Jacobson scored nine points with 12 rebounds for the Cyclones (2-1), who went on a 26-6 run to open the second half and scored 55 of the game's final 81 points.
"It was a great test of our basketball character in the second half," Iowa State coach Steve Prohm said. "Really good testament to these guys."
The Cyclones, thanks to a cavalcade of missed 3s and rebounds, fell behind by as much as 26-15 in the first half. Iowa State cut it to 34-31 by halftime in part by feeding Young in the post, and it took its first lead on a 3-point play by Bolton that put the Cyclones ahead 38-36.
Tyrese Haliburton then tossed an alley-oop to George Conditt that made it a 46-40 game and woke up the crowd. Haliburton capped a stretch of 13 straight points with a layup that pushed Iowa State's lead to 17.
The Cyclones held the Huskies to 18.6% shooting after halftime.
"Our energy. Our sense of urgency," Bolton said about the difference between the first and second halves. "We decided to lock in on defense and try and get transition layups and dunks, and I think that really boosted our energy level and our confidence."
The Cyclones won despite shooting a ghastly 3 of 25 on 3s. They entered play shooting 35.7% from 3-point range.
Eugene German had 24 points to lead NIU -- though he needed 27 shots to get there.