It was senior night in the Cyclone’s final home stand of the season against the West Virginia Mountaineers. Prentiss Nixon and Michael Jacobsen were the sole seniors this years, both by way of transferring.
This game got out to a predictable start. All of this team’s tropes were overly apparent in the first half. Iowa State’s offense looked stagnant at times. West Virginia’s Derek Culver bullied his way through the post and had double digits by half time. Miles “Deuce” McBride was a great #2 option for West Virginia in the first half. The defense struggled mightily during a 14-2 run, and it looked like West Virginia was on their way to a rout.
Halftime couldn’t have came at a better time for the Cyclones. Iowa State trailed 13 points at half time but blew it wide open in the second. The Cyclones got off to a 17-2 run, and the senior, Prentiss Nixon, was red hot. He started the game 4-4 from 3 and 6-9 from the field. He would finish with 19. Hilton seemed to be alive after being dormant for most of the season.
The other senior, Michael Jacobsen, looked like he suffered a serious ankle injury early in the second half. Jacobsen walked it off, and played his normal minutes down the stretch in the second half. Rasir Bolton showed up big for the Cyclones in the second half after only scoring 4 in the first. Bolton scored 16 in the second, and went 10-11 from the line. Bolton fell to the ground hard in the closing minutes of the game, but would return to play.
Even with a flurry of offense for the Cyclones, the Mountaineers were able to recuperate from a tough 12 minutes coming out of half time. West Virginia found their identity late. They were brutally physical, turned Iowa State over, and the Cyclones would give up a few too many offensive rebounds.
Iowa State didn’t go away quietly they stayed in the game till the closing seconds. West Virginia would make their free throws and walked away with a win. This team fought tooth and nail, nearly everyone got up from the floor a little slowly at one point in this game. It was a great effort by the Cyclones tonight, and this team’s fight was front and center all night.
This team could look drastically different by their home opener next year. The two seniors will leave, but Tyrese Halliburton could’ve had his last home game as well with the NBA draft looming. With transfers coming in and out, it was nice to see this team come together one last time in Ames in a gritty performance.
Iowa State has one final conference game at Kansas State this Saturday, before the Big 12 tournament this next week.