The supporting cast pushed Iowa State to a conference victory

Solomon Young goes up for a layup against Kansas State on Feb.8 Hilton Coliseum.

Zane Douglas

A problem for the Cyclones all year has been how the supporting cast could help out Rasir Bolton and Tyrese Haliburton. On Saturday, it did more than that.

The Cyclones won their third conference game on Saturday against Kansas State, despite poor play and injuries from their top two contributors.

The game — which ended 73-63 in Iowa State’s favor — looked like a blowout from the start. Iowa State was clicking on all cylinders and opened the game up with a 21-2 lead before eight minutes had even gone by.

Led by Solomon Young, who just a game ago had no points on 0-8 shooting, the Cyclones were a force on defense and offense. In only seven minutes of play, Young had 11 points on 3-3 shooting, 5-5 from the free throw line, two steals and two blocks against the Wildcats in the first half.

“I was really tryna make up for the last game,” Young said. “Went 0-8 to go really hard, go hard and hit the shot I often hit.”

Kansas State cooled the flames a little bit and was able to hang behind, chipping away at the lead.

With 2:37 left, sophomore forward George Conditt went up for a put back dunk that hit the net and popped out of the basket. It was ruled no basket and in the ensuing Wildcat possession, they hit a three-pointer, cutting the lead to 14 and taking momentum for the Cyclones.

“We missed the dunk to go up 19, and we just kinda stopped playing. Everybody did,” Prohm said.

Kansas State was able to whittle away until the half came and the Wildcats were only down by nine. Iowa State lost the end of the half, but it also lost something much more valuable.

Haliburton — the team’s best player and a possible lottery pick in the 2020 NBA Draft — skied in the air for a block and then came down hard on his left wrist. It was the same wrist he injured earlier in the season.

He was rushed to the locker room, but after a brief hiatus away from the second half warmups, Haliburton came back out to an ovation.

“There shouldn’t be anything, we’re 2-7, they depend on me, I’m the point guard, this is my team and it wasn’t much of a thought and I went out there,” Haliburton said.

He started the second half on the floor, but it became apparent that Haliburton’s left hand wasn’t ready. He would call for a sub with just under 14 minutes remaining and he didn’t see the court after that.

The lead started to crumble as Kansas State applied pressure on ball handlers and forced poor shots. Bolton was taken out of the game with 8:31 remaining as the Cyclones led 52-45.

Initially, Prentiss Nixon and Tre Jackson, who served as the primary ball handlers, were pressured and forced into bad passes and shots. The lead got as low as four points, but the Cyclones answered.

“[Lewis and Young] were terrific, but all the guys, I mean Tyrese had to sit the last fifteen sixteen minutes,” Coach Steve Prohm said. “We got in some tough spots and they didn’t make any excuses and they stepped up and finished the game.”

Young expanded on his efficient first half with a solid second half that. Young picked up two more steals and added nine more points on 4-6 shooting and three rebounds. Young scored 20 points for the second time all season.

Despite consistent struggles, Nixon added a defensive presence in the second half that gave the Cyclones a spark and also hit multiple tough shots when the offense became stagnant.

Perhaps the biggest shots of the game however came from junior guard Terrence Lewis.

With a 59-53 lead, the Cyclones were in danger of the game getting close, but Lewis found himself with the ball at the top of the key. The junior guard aimed, launched and hit to give Iowa State a nine point lead.

Later, when the Wildcats were mounting a run again, Lewis got the ball in the corner on a pass from Nixon and buried another three to put Iowa State up 67-57 with only 1:29 remaining.

“When your number’s called, you gotta be ready,” Lewis said. “[…] you gotta take the responsibility to make some plays.”

The Cyclones held on after that to win 73-63 with the biggest shots coming without the help of their two top scorers.

Kansas State fell to 9-14 and 2-8 in conference play while Iowa State hit double digit wins at 10-13 and 3-7 in the conference.

“Terrence’s three in the corner in front of our bench that was like, man all the stress just kinda comes off your face at once,” Prohm said. “That was great for him.”