Second-half defense propels Iowa State to blowout win over Northern Illinois.

Senior guard Prentiss Nixon pushes up the court with junior forward Solomon Young during Iowa State’s 110-74 victory over the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils on Tuesday at Hilton Coliseum.

Matt Belinson

Believe it or not, Iowa State was down by three at the half to Northern Illinois in a 70 to 52 win Tuesday night.

Iowa State allowed the Huskies to shoot 44 percent in the first half, allowing Eugene German to score 17 first half points. 

Iowa State found itself down 34-31 come halftime.

However once the second half came around, everything changed in favor of the Cyclones. 

The Huskies shot 6-33 from the field in the second half to allow Iowa State to regain the lead and never look back.

Iowa State locked down the Huskies’ attack, forcing 20 turnovers. Iowa State scored 30 points off turnovers in the game — 16 of which came in the second half. 

The Huskies scored a total of 18 points in the second half.

For Steve Prohm, he saw Iowa State respond in a big way after another tough first half defensive performance.

Prohm said he thought the first half defense was average at best and saw Iowa State unable to box in the Huskies, give up too many offensive rebounds and struggle on ball screens. 

“It was a great test for our basketball character in the second half,” Prohm said. 

Prohm saw Iowa State begin to rotate more and find sparks of life from George Conditt or Rasir Bolton.

One of the positives Iowa State had throughout the entire game was Bolton. Bolton had a team-leading 17 points and also had two steals on the night.

Bolton said the plan of action for Iowa State at halftime was focusing on stopping German and playing with much more energy.

The Cyclones focused on loading the paint, staying in gaps and allowing the bigs like Jacobson and Conditt to clean up the rest. 

German was shut down in the second half, shooting 2-12 from the floor after hitting 6 of 15 shots in the first half.

Besides shutting down German, energy from the first to the second half was the key factor in Bolton’s eyes. 

“I think in the first half we were focused on the offensive side and we weren’t making shots all night, but I think the second half we decided to lock in on defense and get transition layups and dunks which I think just boosted our confidence,” Bolton said. 

A bulk of that second half energy came in the form of Conditt.

Conditt found his rhythm in the second half as well, scoring seven of his nine points in the second half. Conditt also collected four blocks and a steal in the half.

Prohm felt Conditt had been solid for Iowa State the past two games off the bench. Prohm said every team that prides itself on defense has a shot blocker like Conditt.

“George, man, when he’s in the game obviously he provides a huge presence around the basket,” Prohm said. “All great defensive teams in the half-court usually have a shot-blocker at the rim because you can make up for so many mistakes.”

One of the sparks Conditt provided came when he put back a missed layup for a dunk and stared down one of the Huskies. He was called for a taunting technical foul but the moment became a boost in energy and toughness for Iowa State.

After the foul call, Iowa State went on a 13-0 run and essentially iced the game.

Prohm said he was told pre-game that the new rule for technicals is that warning would be given first and then a technical foul after.

For Prohm, Conditt brought great effort but in the end he said a foul like that can’t happen in closer games. 

“His effort was great tonight, you get caught up in the heat of the moment, obviously you gotta learn from it cause you can’t have it happen in a close game,” Prohm said.