Mar 7, 2020; Manhattan, Kansas, USA; Iowa State Cyclones guard Prentiss Nixon (11) dribbles against Kansas State Wildcats guard Mike McGuirl (00) during the second half of a game at Bramlage Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports
KANSAS CITY — As of Tuesday evening, it appears as though the Iowa State men’s basketball will still be shorthanded when it takes the floor in a little more than 24 hours from now to square off with Oklahoma State in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament.
The Cyclones’ head coach Steve Prohm said after the team’s practice, which was open to the media, at the Sprint Center that sophomore guard Rasir Bolton remains a game-time decision against the Cowboys due to ongoing concussion protocol. On the other hand, he does expect senior Prentiss Nixon, who injured his ankle in Saturday’s regular-season finale loss to Kansas State, to be available for the 6 p.m. tip in downtown Kansas City.
“I think (Nixon will) most likely be ready to play,” Prohm said. “He practiced this afternoon and just shot around. Rasir I think is still day-to-day. We probably won’t know anything specific until game time.”
Bolton, who is averaging 14.7 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game during his first season as a Cyclone, missed Saturday’s loss to the Wildcats in Manhattan. The honorable mention All-Big 12 selection has been Iowa State’s most consistent scorer during the second half of Big 12 play, following Tyrese Haliburton’s season-ending wrist injury in early February, but has not been a full participant in the program’s practices since suffering a concussion in the team’s home finale last Tuesday, a 77-71 loss to West Virginia.
“(He) just warmed up with the team (on Tuesday) and that was it. He was out there on the court (during shootaround), like you saw, just kind of doing some really, really light shooting and dribbling, but I think that will be a game-time decision,” Prohm said. “He’s still going through the concussion protocol. (The team doctors) and (athletic trainer) Vic (Miller) and those guys are following all the procedures with that and that’s all we can do right now.”
Bolton potentially being absent for Iowa State will leave the bulk of the ball-handling responsibilities on the shoulders of Nixon, who is averaging 9.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists in his first season on the court for Iowa State after transferring from Colorado State two years ago.
He scored nine points on 3-of-12 shooting, including 1-of-7 from 3-point range, with one assist to five turnovers, plus three steals, before leaving the loss to Kansas State after nearly 28 minutes of play.
“I don’t think it’s any different than what we have been doing,” Nixon said of playing the point guard spot. “I think everybody on this team, guard wise, is capable of running the point to start the offense and making plays. So, I think it will be the same way we would if he was here. Go out there and play hard, play our brand of basketball and put ourselves in the best position to win.”