Takeaways: Iowa State looked lost without Haliburton

Caleb Grill looks up at the video board in Hilton Coliseum against No. 1 Baylor on Jan. 29.

Zane Douglas

The losses have piled up for Iowa State this season, but the most lopsided one yet came at the hands of an opponent it had already beaten: Oklahoma. Without sophomore guard Tyrese Haliburton, the team looked lost.

It wasn’t all bad, but the Cyclones were crushed by the Sooners 90-61 in Norman, Oklahoma, on Wednesday.

They’ll look to regroup, but with over half of conference play finished and a recent cold streak from their second best scorer, the Cyclones may be in for a tough end to the season.

Lewis scores at will

Here’s the part of the equation that is not all bad. Junior guard Terrence Lewis saw a minutes increase after hitting two big threes to help close out Kansas State. Haliburton’s absence may have aided the bump as well.

Whatever the reason, Lewis took his new role and ran with it. The junior was gifted with 25 minutes of action and made the most of it with a 7-9 shooting day complete with 17 points and four rebounds.

Lewis also connected on 3-5 three-pointers while the rest of the team only hit on 6-20 from that range.

Before the game against Oklahoma, Head Coach Steve Prohm said Lewis would maybe be looking at increased playing time. This showed on Wednesday with Lewis being in for most of the game’s critical moments.

Bolton goes quiet

Losing the best player on the team can be tough to overcome, but when the second option isn’t picking up the slack, it can really hurt a team’s chances of winning.

This was the case for sophomore guard Rasir Bolton on Wednesday. The sophomore was only given 18 minutes and in that time, he connected on two three-pointers for six points. He missed every other shot he took and ended with a 2-6 game.

Bolton also committed two personal fouls and a turnover while only barely grazing the stat sheet with one rebound and one assist. For the season, Bolton has set up a secondary home at the free-throw line, as he is the only Cyclone with the ability to consistently draw shooting fouls, but he ended Wednesday with no free-throw attempts.

Against Kansas State, Bolton rode the bench in the second half for the run that would seal the game for the Cyclones due to a poor shooting performance of 3-13 from the field and 0-5 from three.

After shooting 41.3 percent from the field, 41.9 percent from three and 84.4 percent from the line in January while averaging 16.4 points per game, Bolton has fallen flat. In February his clip is down to 31.9 percent from the field, 27.8 percent from three and 76.2 percent from the line — good for only 12.8 points per game.

Grill heats up

With Haliburton out, the rotation was going to be something of a question mark, but the minutes distribution on Wednesday was different than anything Prohm has done this season.

Only Prentiss Nixon played more than 28 minutes, and Nixon was only subbing in for Haliburton after losing his starting job to Tre Jackson a few games prior. Nixon earned these minutes with a mediocre shooting performance, but he was able to impact the game in other ways with defense, passing and rebounding.

Nixon shot only 4-13 from the field and 2-8 from three, but 10 points along with seven rebounds and six assists made for a solid game from the senior.

Only three other players had over 20 minutes and they were an unusual bunch. Redshirt junior and sophomore forwards Solomon Young and George Conditt played 40 minutes combined, never seeing the floor together and allowing Young to earn 22 minutes, but Lewis and freshman Caleb Grill played well enough to squeeze more than half a game of playing time out of Wednesday’s game.

Grill in particular needed a strong performance. The freshman had been struggling on the season — especially in conference play. Grill came into the game with only one three-point make in 14 attempts and had only nine points in his last eight games.

Grill hit on both of his three-point attempts and added another basket to give him an eight point game as he tripled his three-point total during conference play.