AMES, Ia. — What was once a loud and cheering crowd at Hilton Coliseum became silent — and they didn’t even know at the time that Iowa State’s injured star was hurt enough that he might not play for at least a week.
You could even clearly hear Kansas State coach Bruce Weber hollering to his players, “You’re not going to get calls here,” as Tyrese Haliburton lay on the floor under the basket and along the baseline.
The super sophomore was hurt, and suddenly the exuberance of how well the Cyclones played during the first half of what became a 73-63 Iowa State victory was secondary. The team’s best player, a potential NBA lottery pick, was in pain.
“The last time, we held him out for a week,” athletic trainer Vic Miller said. “This time, it’s a similar type of thing. That’s what it took last time. I’m not saying that’s what’s going to happen this time, but it’s going to at least be that.”
Iowa State plays at Oklahoma at 8 p.m., Wednesday. The Cyclones entertain Texas next Saturday.
“We’ll know the next 24 to 48 hours where he needs to be — whether that’s out, whether that’s rehab, or whether that’s able to play Wednesday,” coach Steve Prohm said.
Already, Haliburton was playing with a sprained left wrist after trying to block a shot in a practice. There he was again on the floor, in pain, as an athletic trainer and doctor hovered over him. Hilton became tomb-like.
“I landed on my wrist,” Haliburton said. “I tried to make an effort play. I went to make a block and my feet got tangled up,. Human instinct is to put my hand down to save myself, and it’s just the same hand.”
He’ll have an MRI on Sunday, Miller said. Beyond that is uncertain.
Haliburton was a warrior. It was one of his most impressive games as a Cyclone, what he tried to do after getting hurt with 50 seconds remaining in the first half.
He showed NBA scouts something else. He showed toughness. He showed grit. A team player, Haliburton wasn’t about to abandon his guys when they needed him most.
So, he started the second half. He helped build a 49-35 lead in a game the Cyclones once led by 21 points, but he wasn’t himself. Then with 16 or so minutes left, he’d had enough. Essentially playing one-handed anyway, the pain was too much to withstand. He asked out of the game.
Iowa State already lost the Florida A&M game when their leader was on the bench after spraining his wrist the first time. He was on the bench again as Kansas State closed within 52-48.
Prentiss Nixon made two big plays — one offensively, and another defensively that led to his dunk. Just like that, Iowa State led 56-48.
And guess who was jumping up and down on the bench, leading the cheers and waving a towel?
The possible lottery pick with the sprained left wrist, that’s who.
His teammates responded positively. Prentiss Nixon had a big offensive play and then a steal that led to his dunk. Suddenly, Iowa State had its mojo back. The score became 59-51 Cyclones with 3:45 to play. Terrence Lewis had a big basket, and it was 64-55 Iowa State. He later made a long 3-pointer from the corner, and now it was a 10-point game.
So much for that four-game losing streak.
Even with their star leader on the bench, Iowa State (10-13, 3-7 Big 12 Conference) found a way against a team that was just as desperate for a win. Credit that, and also the way the Cyclones started this game.
Solomon Young was relentless. Iowa State’s veteran post player was bound and determined the losing streak was going to end. He’d seen enough.
So, the junior scrapped and fought. He put the Cyclones on his muscular shoulders early and sparked his teammates into doing likewise.
Young scored 11 of his team’s first 14 points. After eight minutes, he hadn’t missed a shot from the field of the stripe. He had 11 points, two blocked shots and two steals. It was his game.
By golly, the Cyclones’ losing streak wasn’t reaching five, if he had anything to do with it.
And guess who greeted each of the victorious players moments after the final horn sounded?
Iowa State columnist Randy Peterson has been writing for the Des Moines Register for parts of five decades. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org, 515-284-8132, and on Twitter at @RandyPete. No one covers the Cyclones like the Register. Subscribe today at DesMoinesRegister.com/Deal to make sure you never miss a moment.
Source: Des Moines Register