Iowa State plays Oklahoma on Saturday in a game where it desperately needs a win

Senior guard Prentiss Nixon during the men’s basketball game against Kansas on Jan. 8 in Hilton Coliseum.

Zane Douglas

Iowa State (7-7, 0-2 conference) is home again at Hilton Coliseum as it hosts the Oklahoma Sooners (11-3, 2-0 conference), but with a three game losing streak, this game becomes important for coach Steve Prohm and his team.

Iowa State has lost three games in a row and besides the loss in Fort Worth, Texas, to TCU, the games have not been pretty.

“Wednesday stings,” said guard Prentiss Nixon. “It still stings today, it should sting for a long time.”

Kansas dominated Iowa State on Wednesday by a score of 79-53 and some of it was because of the size advantage that the Jayhawks played with.

One of the big reasons for this is the lack of size that Iowa State has, but Prohm also played a small ball lineup in the middle of the game that gave Kansas a short burst and a lot of offensive rebounds.

Prohm was asked whether there might be changes to the starting lineup on Saturday and he said it was a possibility — strongly implicating that there might be a change.

That change almost certainly comes in the form of sophomore forward George Conditt.

Conditt turned himself from a solid defensive player, to a defensive force and an offensive weapon in the course of one year and the change has made him play better than most players own the team — sans Tyrese Haliburton.

Whatever the lineup changes could be, there will be some switches for the Cyclones on Saturday.

One place where it won’t happen is with Haliburton.

Haliburton had one of his worst games of his career on Wednesday against the Jayhawks and despite the decision to play four guards at once, he didn’t get much help from the back court.

After the game against the Jayhawks, Haliburton stepped up as the leader of the clubhouse.

“Tyrese took some ownership… to kind of review our actions, the pace we need to play with, the ball movement we need to have” Prohm said. “Them taking the step to do that on their own I thought was huge.”

Iowa State didn’t look crisp against Kansas and some of the biggest scoring options for the Cyclones were snuffed out by the Jayhawks’ elite defense which left the offense stagnant and looking for opportunities.

One opportunity might come in that small ball lineup — and could even be another one of the possible lineup changes that Prohm could tool with.

Freshman guard Tre Jackson has had a solid year defensively with something left to be desired on the other side of the ball, but Prohm uses him often giving the implication that he sees more in him than what meets the eye during games.

“We always have to have confidence in ourselves, it’s gonna fall eventually,” Jackson said. “One of these games… we’re gonna shoot 50 percent.”

Jackson specifically has had a low shooting percentage all year — topping out at 25.6 percent from three — but the freshman has confidence in himself and his teammates to change their luck in that area.

Whether Jackson can do that or not will need to be decided soon with Big 12 play fully under way now. Oklahoma will provide its own set of challenges that the Cyclones didn’t see with Kansas — specifically stretching the floor.

6-foot 7-inch forward Kristian Doolittle is shooting over 50 percent on three point attempts this season and is leading the Sooners in points and rebounds.

However, Prohm is not worried about Doolittle’s behind the arc game so much.

“I think at the end of the day, he’s awesome at 15 feet,” Prohm said. “You gotta keep him out of the paint and limit those shots.”

Prohm is more worried about Austin Reaves and Brady Manek from three rather than Doolittle.

Iowa State will face a tough test with Oklahoma having a solid season under coach Lon Kruger.

The Cyclones need this one more than ever if they want to avoid skidding even more.