Ames, Iowa Percy Gibson laid out a simple goal for himself in his first start for Iowa State.
"I just wanted to come in and make as much impact as I could early so we could just keep the team going," the freshman said.
He did exactly that.
Gibson scored 13 of his 15 points in the first half and Iowa State broke out of a two-game shooting slump with an 84-59 victory over Prairie View A&M on Tuesday night.
Gibson started in place of Royce White, the team's leading scorer and rebounder, and came up big in helping the Cyclones (6-3) regain their touch after shooting just 39 percent in consecutive losses to Northern Iowa and Michigan. White did not start because he was 3 minutes late for the morning shoot-around.
Chris Allen had 16 points for the Cyclones, who shot 55 percent in the first half and 52 percent for the game. White, who entered the game after the first media timeout, and Tyrus McGee each added 12 points.
"Percy got us off to a great start," Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said. "He did a great job establishing position on the block and we did a good job finding him."
Jourdan DeMuynck's 18 points led Prairie View (2-7), which lost its seventh straight.
After making only 10 of 45 3-point shots in its last two games, Iowa State hit four of its first five against the Panthers. That opened up things inside and the 6-foot-9, 245-pound Gibson took advantage by hitting seven of his nine shots. He also grabbed seven rebounds, blocked a shot and delighted the crowd with his hustle plays as he and his teammates tuned up for Friday night's visit by rival Iowa.
Hoiberg made another change by putting Allen at point guard and moving Scott Christopherson to the wing in hopes of getting him more shots. Christopherson shot just 1 for 8, but Allen handed out seven assists and went 3 for 5 from 3-point range after going 4 for 14 in the two previous games.
"We really struggled shooting the basketball the last two games," Hoiberg said. "Whose fault is it? I don't know. It's hard to say. We had great looks at Michigan. I just felt we needed to change things up a little bit, get guys in different spots on the floor to see if that could free some guys up."
The Cyclones, averaging almost 10 3-pointers a game, made only two after their early flurry, but they were so effective around the basket, it didn't matter. They outscored Prairie View 36-28 in the lane and held a 24-5 edge on free throws.
Down 23 at halftime, Prairie View made a brief run at the start of the second half, drawing within 49-35 when DeMuynck converted a three-point play. But the Panthers got no closer.
The Cyclones answered with a 14-4 run that Allen capped with a 3-pointer from the right corner to put them back in control at 63-39 midway through the second half. They led by as many as 29.
"We just had that lull again in the second half when we allowed them to get too comfortable," Hoiberg said. "I can't wait to see this team play 40 minutes of really good basketball, because we're certainly capable."
Iowa State scored the game's first eight points and later held the Panthers scoreless for 5½ minutes while running off 13 points for a 23-5 lead.
Consecutive dunks by White and Melvin Ejim capped an 8-0 run that stretched the Cyclones' lead to 37-12 with 5:38 left in the opening half. At No. 20 Michigan last Saturday, Iowa State didn't reach 37 until the 11:35 mark in the second half.
The lead grew to 39-13 when Gibson grabbed an offensive rebound with one hand and flipped the ball into the basket from 5 feet away. His layup on a nifty underhand pass from White made it 46-19 before Prairie View scored the final two baskets of the half.
Allen sparked the Cyclones' fast start with a hand in their first four baskets. He fed Gibson for a layup to begin the game, hit a 3-pointer, found Christopherson on the left wing for another 3 and hit Ejim down low for a layup.
"We got the ball moving," McGee said. "We pushed the ball up the court, we had a lot of assists. When the shots weren't falling we were still getting the rebound and putting them back in."