Nixon sparks second half run, but the Cyclones fall short on Senior Night

Senior guard Prentiss Nixon attempts a shot against West Virginia on March 3 in Iowa State’s final home game of the season at Hilton Coliseum.

Zane Douglas

Struggling all season, losing a starting job and suffering a losing record have been three of the reasons this season has been tough for senior transfer Prentiss Nixon.

With all that in mind, Tuesday couldn’t have been a better end for the senior statistically in his last home game.

The Cyclones stormed back from a 44-31 halftime deficit, but even with the help from Nixon, West Virginia defeated Iowa State 77-71 on senior night in Hilton Coliseum.

It was Nixon who led the charge in the futile comeback effort.

“I thought [Nixon] really had a groove offensively, making shots and it was great to see that tonight,” Head Coach Steve Prohm said. “You wish you could’ve carried that onto a win.”

In the middle of the half with the Cyclones trailing, Nixon nailed three straight perimeter shots, much to the liking of the home crowd and ended up giving the Cyclones a 51-48 lead.

His scoring went quiet, but Nixon had set his mark on the game and given the Cyclones a much-needed boost.

He would drop one more three later in the half and ended his day with an efficient 7-12 performance and 5-7 from beyond the arc.

Nixon was active in other areas as well as he grabbed five rebounds, had three assists and stole the ball four times. The stat line is one of Nixon’s best as a Cyclone and it came in his last game in Hilton Coliseum.

“There’s been games I’ve had those same looks they just haven’t gone,” Nixon said. “[…] If it was anybody else in that situation then I know they would’ve knocked those shots down too.”

Nixon and the Cyclones came out in the second half and started the storm back by playing relentless defense, not allowing the Mountaineers to score for over five minutes in the half.

Nixon’s second half was where he excelled offensively. Nixon went 6-8 shooting in the half with 16 of his 19 points. He also had two steals, four rebounds and an assist in the final 20 minutes.

Nixon wasn’t the only one playing well during the second half run as the senior was joined by sophomore guard Rasir Bolton, who ended his day with 21 points on 5-11 shooting, 10-11 from the charity stripe and a step back three that sent Hilton into a frenzy.

This was one of the first times that the pair of Bolton and Nixon have played well together. The two scored over half of Iowa State’s points and they played an effective press break against West Virginia’s stingy defense.

“Rasir was terrific, Prentiss was good when he was in those situations, but the way they attacked it and moved the ball, I mean it was a great scene, great possession,” Prohm said. “I don’t know if Tre made it or missed it, I think he missed the three in the corner, but it was like ‘dang that’s the way you gotta move that’s the way you gotta play.”

The Cyclones played arguably one of their best games Tuesday, but couldn’t escape with a win as West Virginia’s bench scoring and rebounding outclassed Iowa State.

After the game, it was all Nixon and senior Michael Jacobson as the two were honored for their time at Iowa State. Nixon got emotional when he talked about his final season in college basketball.

“That was a fun game to be a part of,” Prohm said. “I’m sick we lost, ’cause it’s senior day and we speak afterwards and so it’s like the one game you’re like ‘man we need to win this one so everything’s great after the game.'”

Aside from Nixon and Bolton, the Cyclones shot 11-30 from the field — good for a percentage of 36.7.

The loss was a blow for the Cyclones, but Prohm said he was proud of how his team fought back in the second half.

For Nixon, it was an emotional game.

“I’m not gonna lie to you today sucked,” Nixon said. “I woke up this morning and it was just, the feeling in your stomach is that this is your last home game in college. You gotta sit with this all day long until game time comes.”