It took a half for Iowa State to show up for its season opener. But once the Cyclones decided to play, they swamped Southern University to post an 82-59 victory in the non-conference season opener for both teams.
ISU trailed by double figures on multiple occasions in the first half, but managed to take a two-point lead at halftime. Then Iowa State overwhelmed the Jaguars in the second half to improve to 1-0 on the season. The Cyclones' next game is Monday night at home against Alabama A&M.
Three Cyclones had double-doubles on the night as Iowa State held a whopping 59-33 rebounding advantage. Sophomore Percy Gibson scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Senior Will Clyburn went for 16 and 10 and freshman Georges Niang had 15 points and 12 rebounds in his first game as a Cyclone.
Niang knocked down a three-point field goal in the closing seconds of the first half to put Iowa State up at the break, 41-39. That capped a 20-7 run by the Cyclones after Southern had built a 32-21 lead with 7:29 to play in the opening half. ISU cranked up the defensive intensity to start the second half and led 50-43 at the first media timeout.
Clyburn ignited a 7-0 spurt a few minutes later with a baseline drive and dunk and moments later, Iowa State was up 66-50 about midway through the half. Southern never got closer than 14 points after that. Iowa State's biggest lead of the game was 26 points on two occasions in the second half.
In the first half, it didn't look like Iowa State was going to be able to enjoy such a big lead in the game. Southern jumped out to a 16-6 lead within the first six minutes. ISU went on a 13-2 run for a 19-18 lead, but the visiting Jaguars answered with a 14-2 run of their own. Southern's Derick Beltran had 18 points in the first half and led all scorers in the game, finishing with 26 points.
Despite winning comfortably, Iowa State left the Hilton Coliseum floor knowing it had plenty to work on. The Cyclones had 17 first-half turnovers and finished the game with 21, compared to just 12 assists. ISU made barely over half its free throws, connecting on 15-of-28 in the game. Iowa State shot 44 percent from the field overall and 33 percent from three-point range.
It was a rough night for starting point guard Korie Lucious in his first game on the floor for the Cyclones after sitting out last season as a transfer from Michigan State. Lucious made just 1-of-12 shots from the floor, a three-pointer, and also had seven turnovers to go with six assists.