Iowa State gets one last shot at grabbing a conference win

Senior guard Jalen Coleman-Lands drives past his defender Dec. 15 at Hilton Coliseum.

Matt Belinson

It all comes down to this.

Iowa State (2-20, 0-17 Big 12) will get one last shot to win its first conference game of the season Saturday with a rematch of the conference opener with the Kansas State Wildcats (7-19, 3-14 Big 12) in Manhattan, Kansas.

The Cyclones were 1-3 after their loss to Kansas State to open up conference play Dec. 15 at Hilton Coliseum, but what Iowa State didn’t know was that game would become a precursor to a Big 12 season full of defeat.

And a lot has changed since that loss in mid-December for the Cyclones in all of the wrong ways.

Since Dec. 15, Iowa State has gone 1-16 overall, lost Xavier Foster to a season-ending foot injury, lost five games by 20 points or more and is at risk of going winless in conference play as a program for the first time since the 1936-37 season when the Cyclones went 0-10 in the Big Six.

In order to avoid this unsavory reality, Iowa State will have to rely on its depleted roster to get the job done.

Rasir Bolton, Iowa State’s leading scorer, has missed the last two games with a right ankle injury and it doesn’t appear he’ll be good to go for Saturday.

Head Coach Steve Prohm told the media Thursday night he doesn’t expect his leading guard to return in Manhattan.

“I don’t think so, I would think he’s doubtful again,” Prohm said when asked if Bolton could be available Saturday.

The record is noticeable but Prohm said he doesn’t want any of the players to be thinking about their record Saturday. All Prohm can ask of them is to compete and bring energy and get better for 40 minutes. 

In the end though, he hopes to secure a victory Saturday.

“I hope they can get it, I hope we can get it on Saturday,” Prohm said.

Without Bolton, Jalen Coleman-Lands has had to pick up the role of the main offense of this team. He’s met the challenge.

Over his last six games, the senior guard transfer is shooting 60 percent from 3-point range and averaging 16.8 points per game for the Cyclones.

Alongside Coleman-Lands has been fellow guard Tyler Harris. Harris has had to fill in for Bolton at point guard and has had moderate success with turnovers still holding the junior back from producing consistently at the main guard spot.

Harris didn’t mince words Thursday as to the significance of Saturday’s game.

“This is a must win for us, we gotta ball out because we don’t want to go 0-fer so I would say from the jump to the end of the game we gotta come out laying everything on the floor,” Harris said postgame Thursday.

In the history of the Big 12 Conference, a team has gone winless in league play only three times, the most recent being TCU in the 2013-14 season.

Iowa State and Kansas State tip off at 4 p.m. Saturday on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.