Iowa State Cyclones

Iowa State basketball has 'to fight like heck' with shorthanded rotation

Cyclones travel to No. 21 West Virginia with as few as 6 players available

Iowa State Cyclones head coach Steve Prohm. (Michael C. Johnson/USA TODAY Sports)
Iowa State Cyclones head coach Steve Prohm. (Michael C. Johnson/USA TODAY Sports)

AMES — In a season filled with adversity, the Iowa State men’s basketball team has to face some more.

The Cyclones travel to Morgantown, W. Va., on Saturday as Iowa State (13-14, 4-11 Big 12) plays No. 21 West Virginia (28-8, 9-6) at 5 p.m.

Iowa State will be without senior guard Donovan Jackson, who will be attending his dad’s funeral on Saturday.

Senior forward Hans Brase could play. He did some light practice work on Thursday. Coach Steve Prohm said he’ll dress, but remains questionable for the game.

The Cyclones could face one of the most unrelenting defenses in the nation with only six players. West Virginia is 4-2 since Iowa State upset the Mountaineers in Hilton Coliseum. Prohm said they’re playing some of their best basketball of the season.

“I think Zoran has to be a big help for us and then I think Jakolby (Long) and Terrence (Lewis) need to step up and be good for us,” Prohm said. “And then Lindell has to be very, very good. We’ll miss Donovan in that regard of not having an extra ball handler.”

Nick Weiler-Babb will make the trip, but won’t be able to play. He’ll try and help Wigginton in any way he can from the sidelines.

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“I can pass on things I know,” Weiler-Babb said. “When I see things on the court, I can pull Lindell to the side and let him know what I see from my perspective.”

Regardless of how many actually see the court for Iowa State, and regardless of how tired they inevitably get with a six-player (maybe seven-player) rotation facing the West Virginia press, Prohm wants them to do one thing.

Play how they’re supposed to.

“I don’t care if it’s six guys or it’s eight guys,” Prohm said. “The way we go about everything we do — on the floor and off the floor — it’s to compete the right way and do things the right way. Just because you’re going through some adverse situations, it shouldn’t change your approach in any shape form or fashion. We’ll prepare the same way, we’ll walk and talk the same way and we need to go and play the right way.”

Prohm said Iowa State could’ve folded a number of times this season, but they haven’t yet, and he doesn’t expect them to now.

Neither does Wigginton.

Fatigue could be a factor, but both player and coach expect the team to play hard.

“We can’t fold, we can’t fold now, we still have games left — we still have the Big 12 tournament,” Wigginton said. “We can’t fold now, whatever number (of players) we have now, we have to give it our all every night.”

Prohm knows this is a unique season. He’s only had one other similar season and that was back when he was an assistant in the early 2000s.

He delivered a message to his young, inexperienced team to make sure they knew this isn’t what a normal season is like.

“(I) talked to these guys about vision and about what’s ahead of them down the road, and what they’re going to experience at some point while they’re playing here,” Prohm said. “That’s going to make it all worth it. They have to believe and trust in that. Good things are coming, but we have to fight like heck to get through this right now. It’s tough, it’s hard, but that’s the hand we were dealt.

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