Last home game of the season will give seniors a chance to avenge previous loss

Senior Prentiss Nixon navigates between defenders against Texas Tech on Feb. 22 in Hilton Coliseum.

Zane Douglas

The senior send-off will be on for the Cyclones as they play in their last home game of the season, which will feature Hilton saying goodbye to two rotation pieces.

Iowa State’s seniors will play in front of a home crowd for the last time Tuesday with the Cyclones taking on West Virginia.

The two main pieces leaving after the season ends will be seniors Michael Jacobson and Prentiss Nixon — two upperclassmen transfers who have earned starting roles for the Cyclones.

“I don’t think I would trade it for anything,” Jacobson said. “I think a big thing would be the fans. The support is unbelievable, and they definitely make it a special place and a special environment.”

Jacobson is a Waukee, Iowa, native, and his grandpa played football for Iowa State. Jacobson had a promising high school football career, but he elected to play basketball instead.

The Nebraska transfer has come alive lately on the court with some of his best games of the season coming in the final stretch. He’s had a down year compared to last season, but he’s stepped up his game as the season has wound down.

One of Jacobson’s more underwhelming performances of the year came in Iowa State’s last meeting with the Mountaineers. Jacobson finished with only 4 points on 2-4 shooting, but he did grab seven rebounds in only 22 minutes.

This came in the middle of a stretch for Jacobson where he couldn’t quite find a ton of shots on offense, but in his last five games, Jacobson has averaged 12.2 points and 8.6 rebounds — a far cry from his 7.5 points and 5.9 rebounds per game that he is averaging for the season.

“[Jacobson’s] a guy that has his degree, that’s gonna play basketball for a long time and then do really well in whatever business that he chooses,” Head Coach Steve Prohm said.

Nixon has had a similar year, but his games have taken a turn for the worse. After a 10-game stretch with no double-digit point games, Nixon put together a three-game stretch of high-scoring games.

The season looked like it was turning around for the senior, but Nixon was met again with rough shooting culmination in his worst game of the year, a 1-10 game against TCU.

Nixon has had his struggles, but Prohm had kind words for his starting guard.

“[Nixon] brings a great deal off toughness and an edge to our team, and he’s another guy that’s handled himself well through all the ups and the downs that this season has had for us,” Prohm said.

In the short term, Iowa State has a game to attend, and it’ll be a revenge game in context where it was outmatched down low and on ball screens.

West Virginia won that game 76-61 and was a force in the rebounding department. The Cyclones were outclassed on the boards 46-28, including 18-9 on offensive rebounds.

Iowa State was also fooled on ball screens often, leading to easy buckets and good positioning for West Virginia.

“I think just moving the ball and trying to get up and down, get the pace up, is something that we’re gonna really focus on,” Jacobson said.

The Cyclones have been without their best player for six games now, and leadership is coming from all areas, despite the below average record.

Iowa State will have to rely on senior leadership as the season ends, but it won’t have Nixon or Jacobson on the team for much longer.

Nixon said something that will be important to him moving forward is the success of his teammates.

“Maybe me and [Jacobson] were here in our senior year to help young guys and teach them to where they can go on and have long, successful careers here,” Nixon said. “If I had to sacrifice some wins at the end of my career for those guys to go win Big 12 Championships and get to the NCAA Tournament, then I’ll be the happiest person in the world.”