Iowa State takes on Texas in Hilton

Senior guard Prentiss Nixon goes up for a shot against Baylor’s Davion Mitchell in a 67-53 loss to then-No.1 Baylor on Jan. 29.

Zane Douglas

Another big loss has set the table for the Cyclones to try something new going forward.

With Wednesday’s 90-61 loss to Oklahoma, Iowa State saw a little bit of what worked and a lot of what didn’t in its first game without sophomore guard Tyrese Haliburton.

Texas is next on the schedule and the weekend game will be played in Hilton Coliseum.

“Really the game got out of hand the last 10-12 minutes,” Head Coach Steve Prohm said. “It’s a seven point game right to that 10 minutes mark.”

Sophomore guard Rasir Bolton wasn’t called on to do much despite being one of Iowa State’s consistent options. Bolton only saw 18 minutes in the game while someone who has been much less consistent — redshirt senior guard Prentiss Nixon — played the entire game.

Even before Haliburton’s broken wrist, the Cyclones were struggling as a team. The new freshmen weren’t really contributing and their record was lagging behind most of the conference.

One of the freshmen came alive Wednesday.

Guard Caleb Grill has had a dismal year, especially on offense leading up to the second tilt against Oklahoma. After sinking his first shot, Grill would add six more points and play the second most minutes of anyone against the Sooners.

“I think [my confidence] has affected me this year, so I just wanted to go out there and play,” Grill said.

Grill’s troubles have hurt him all season, so one solid game may not change that, but the freshman said that it helped his confidence moving forward.

With Grill playing the second most minutes at 28, the most minutes on the team went to Nixon who played all 40.

Prohm opted to play Nixon 40 minutes and have him serve as one of the primary ball handlers. Nixon would reward his coach with a 10 point, seven rebound and six assist game despite the poor shooting night.

Nixon is known for his defensive prowess, but Wednesday showed a little bit of what he can do on offense.

Nixon has started most of the games this season, but Prohm had benched him a couple games prior to Oklahoma and only started him again when Haliburton went down.

Prohm had reason to do so, with Nixon’s shooting struggles that have come up during conference play, and even in the Oklahoma game where he shot 4-13, the Cyclones have been hurt by his poor shooting performances. With Haliburton out however, the Cyclones leaned on him as a leader.

“It’s definitely different, you know you play with Tyrese for 20-some games and then all the sudden he’s gone,” Nixon said. “[…] Someone has to step up to that role on the court.”

The matchup on Saturday will be a test for the Cyclones to see if they can win without their best player. Iowa State lost against the Longhorns in the first game of the series between the two.

Couple with balanced scoring from Texas, the collapse against Texas was aided as the Cyclones weren’t able to close out a game in which they led late.

Matt Coleman, Jericho Sims and Courtney Ramey led the team with 14 points and Coleman in particular was crucial down the stretch to give Texas a chance.

The comeback was complete as the Longhorns gained a lead and with a chance to tie, freshman Tre Jackson was called for a tripping penalty that derailed the Cyclones in the final two minutes.

“We missed some layups, we can’t blame all that stuff, but the one big play where we got the foul with Tre, we gotta execute,” Prohm said. “Play’s wide open but we ran it too fast, didn’t get set up, we get a legal screen, everything we wanted the play’s wide open.”

Saturday sees both teams having something to prove and in Texas’ case, some postseason implications on the line. The Cyclones will look to avenge a tough loss.