AMES — Michael Jacobson’s senior night appeared to end early when he injured his right leg chasing after a rebound with 17:00 left in the second half.
The senior from Waukee limped off the court with assistance to a standing ovation from the Hilton Coliseum crowd.
“The first thing I thought was just, ‘Aw sh—, this hurts,’” Jacobson said.
He went back to the locker room and got his ankle re-taped. Five minutes later, Jacobson checked back in.
“I was running up and down the hallway and zig-zagging and doing slides to test it,” Jacobson said. “It was Senior Night and we were playing well when I went out, so I knew I needed to get back in there. I’m not a guy that sits out. I don’t think I’ve ever missed a game.”
Iowa State trailed by 13 points at the beginning of the second half but quickly erased that deficit.
The Cyclones started the second half on an 18-4 run both with and without Jacobson on the floor, which allowed the Cyclones to get back in the game and, eventually, take the lead.
West Virginia went the first 3:43 of the second half without a point until Taz Sherman hit a pair of free throws. The scoring drought allowed Iowa State to get back in the game.
During the run, fellow senior Prentiss Nixon made three-straight 3-pointers.
The Cyclones’ comeback attempt fell short as West Virginia won, 77-71.
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Jacobson finished with nine points on 3-of-7 shooting from the field and 3-of-3 shooting from the free-throw line. He added two rebounds.
Nixon finished with 19 points on 7-for-12 shooting from the field and 5-for-7 shooting from beyond the arc. He added four steals on the defensive end.
“I just stayed confident,” Nixon said. “You can’t predict if you’re going to make shots or miss shots — there have been games I’ve had those same looks and they just didn’t go down.”
Even though the comeback attempt fell short, Coach Steve Prohm loved the effort he saw from his players.
“That’s the frustrating part about coaching is getting that consistency every night,” Prohm said. “When they compete the right way it’s a lot funner to coach, it’s a lot funner to play, it’s a lot funner for the fans — that was a fun game to be a part of. I’m sick we lost but shows when we compete that we can play well.”
Nixon and Jacobson paved the way for the Cyclones’ effort on Tuesday. Nixon, by his ability to hit shots even though he hadn’t been all season and Jacobson, by playing through an ankle injury.
“It’s a hard day, but what helps me is seeing the way these guys compete,” Nixon said. “I love seeing that these young guys are relentless and that they’ll keep coming no matter what happens. It would’ve been easy to fold and lay down and let West Virginia do whatever they want but that didn’t happen.”
Rasir Bolton had just four points on 1-of-5 shooting in the first half before coming alive in the second. He finished with 21 points on 5-of-11 shooting.
Solomon Young also had a good game for the Cyclones.
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When Iowa State (12-18, 5-12 Big 12) played West Virginia (20-10, 8-9) in early February, Young was 0 for 8 didn’t score. On Tuesday, the junior scored 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting. He added seven rebounds and four blocks to his stat line.
The Cyclones handled the Mountaineers’ suffocating defense for the most part. As a team, Iowa State shot 43.4 percent from the floor and had just 12 turnovers.
Even with Iowa State’s production from Young and Jacobson, the Mountaineers still outscored the Cyclones 34-24 in the paint.
West Virginia was led by Derek Culver, who had 17 points. Jacobson guarded Culver in the first half and Culver scored 14 on 7-of-11 shooting. Young guarded Culver in the second half and helped neutralize him in the paint, holding him to just three second-half points.
“We did that against a top-10 defense,” Prohm said. “The way we attacked and moved the ball in the second half was terrific. That’s the way we have to play.”
Iowa State will close out the regular season Saturday at Kansas State.
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