AMES — All of Steve Prohm’s stress melted off his face at once when junior guard Terrence Lewis hit a corner 3 with 1:29 left in Saturday’s game.
The shot put Iowa State up 67-57 against Kansas State. After some obligatory fouling from the Wildcats, Iowa State sealed a 73-63 win at Hilton Coliseum.
It’s easy to understand why Prohm was stressed.
His team led by as many as 21 points in the first half and Kansas State (9-14, 2-8) cut the lead to four with 7:57 left in the second half before Iowa State (10-13, 3-7) closed the game out.
But, maybe more impactful to Prohm’s stress, his star point guard and projected future NBA lottery pick Tyrese Haliburton landed on his already-injured left wrist after blocking a shot with 54 seconds left in the first half.
Haliburton immediately went to the locker room.
The sophomore did start the second half but dribbled, passed and caught the ball with his right hand, almost exclusively. He played until the 13:46 mark before he asked Prohm to take him out of the game.
“He asked to come out so I knew something had to be wrong with him,” Prohm said. “At halftime he wanted to give it a go but he was limited with his left hand and he needed to get out.
“I probably won’t know anything official until Monday but he is hurt right now. We need to monitor it and see where we go from here.”
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In his six minutes and 14 seconds in the second half, Haliburton recorded just one assist. In the first half before his injury, he had nine points and two assists.
It’s admirable that Haliburton tried to play through the obvious pain — especially considering he’s projected by some as a top-10 NBA draft pick and it’d be easy for him to protect himself.
“He wanted to play the day after he originally got the injury before the Florida A&M game,” Prohm said of Haliburton’s competitive drive. “He was mad at me because I told him it wasn’t the best thing for him. When I say mad, not like mad at me but mad at the situation.
“He’s an awesome representative of our school. He was leading the cheers on the sideline and I thought that was really, really cool.”
It was after Haliburton left the game when Kansas State made its run.
“It’s a big difference without Tyrese because he usually plays 40 minutes a game,” Iowa State’s Solomon Young said. “But other guys had to step up and they did.”
The two players who stepped up the most were Lewis and Prentiss Nixon, two players who usually don’t see a lot of playing time in late-game situations.
“We figured out a way to close the game and I was proud of those guys,” Prohm said. “The guys stepped up and we toughened up on the defensive end.”
Lewis finished with 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting and Nixon finished with nine points and three assists.
During one stretch in the second half, Nixon and Lewis had 17 of 18 points for Iowa State.
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The rock for Iowa State throughout the game was Young. The junior big man had 11 of Iowa State’s first 14 points. He finished with 20 points, three rebounds, four steals and two blocks.
“I thought this was a game we could throw it inside,” Prohm said. “Solomon ran the floor well. When we play teams where we can really throw the ball inside, then we need to do it. This was a game we thought we could. He had 20 tonight and 27 against Oklahoma State. He was efficient tonight. He was 7-for-9 from the field and 6-for-7 from the free throw line.”
While Iowa State closed this game out, Haliburton’s uncertain future poses a problem for the Cyclones.
“Obviously he has some things to deal with health-wise,” Prohm said. “We need him and he’s a big part of this team but if we do need to sit him out, then the next man has to step up and we have to be ready to roll.”
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