The Iowa basketball team has not missed out on the NCAA Tournament four consecutive years since the field included only 32 teams back in the laste 1970s, but barring a stunning reversal in the last couple of weeks the Hawks will be on the outside looking in once again after a 66-63 loss Wednesday night at lowly Purdue.It was only the Boilermakers seventh win of the season. Iowa had led the game 55-48 with just under eight minutes remaining. Iowa coach Steve Alford says, “It’s unfortunate, I think this team just has to learn in the last eight minutes on how to put a team away and how to win games.” Alford says they’ve had a lot of close games with two in overtime and one on the last possession. Alford says they don’t have the leadership they need in loud arenas on the road to win games.The Hawkeyes appeared to be in control down the stretch but managed just two baskets the final eight minutes and seemed baffled after Purdue switched to a zone defense. He says it was similar to the Wisconsin game in which he though his team played better, but couldn’t finish the game off.Alford has praised the leadership on the team for much of this season but changed his tune following last night’s game. He says he feels for the team as they’re a hard working group. “But you’ve got to learn how to get over the hump. And you gotta show toughness for 40 minutes. We’re just really missing some leadership.”The Hawkeyes fall to 4-7 in the Big Ten and return home to face top ranked Illinois on Saturday.
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