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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Melvin Eim scored 20 of his 22 points in the second half and overtime, and 17th-ranked Iowa State rallied from 18 points down to beat Northern Iowa 91-82 on Saturday for its best start in 10 years.
Georges Niang added a career-high 22 points for the Cyclones (7-0), who also snapped a 3-game losing streak against the rival Panthers (3-5).
Iowa State went on a 23-2 run midway through the second half to erase a 49-31 deficit. But Northern Iowa's Seth Tuttle banked in a 3 with 1.3 seconds left to force OT.
Ejim responded with back-to-back 3s to put the Cyclones ahead 82-75 with 1:18 left.
Nate Buss had 23 points and Wes Washpun scored 18 with eight assists for Northern Iowa.
Iowa State was listless for the first 24 minutes and found itself trailing by 18 points on a neutral floor in Des Moines.
It was by far the biggest deficit the Cyclones had seen all year.
It didn't last long.
Iowa State quickly cut the Northern Iowa's lead to six when Ejim banked in a 19-footer. Niang gave the Cyclones the lead on back-to-back baskets, and DeAndre Kane found Ejim for an alley-oop dunk that put them ahead 54-51 with 9:04 to go.
Ejim's 3 made it 70-64 with 1:14 left in regulation, and it looked as if the Cyclones had finally sealed the win.
But Tuttle, a 6-foot-8 post player, threw up a desperation heave from the top of the key that somehow found the glass and the net.
Kane had 18 points, 11 rebounds and six assists for the Cyclones _ along with the first two buckets of overtime.
Iowa State had made a habit out of blowing away overmatched opponents as quickly as possible.
But it didn't take long for the Panthers to prove they could do more than just hang with the Cyclones.
Back-to-back 3s by freshman Jeremy Morgan made it 22-9 Northern Iowa. Cyclones coach Fred Hoiberg called timeout to settle his team down, and they responded with a 10-0 run to get back in the game.
The Panthers kept coming though.
Northern Iowa's half-court offense gave the Cyclones fits, and Tuttle's 3-point play help give the Panthers a 42-29 halftime lead.
It was by far the worst half Iowa State had played all year. It only got worse after the break, as Northern Iowa quickly extended its lead to 49-31.
But the Cyclones rallied behind their Ejim, Kane and their powerful transition game to avoid yet another loss to their instate rivals.
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