Steve Alford has never figure skated. His childhood was spent with a basketball in his hands all year long. However, last night he would have probably traded his shoes for a pair of Nike skates if only this winter would have provided the normal amount of ice to allow him to skate away from Bryce Jordan Center.
The oddsmakers in Las Vegas can't seem to adjust the line on the floundering Hawkeyes fast enough as they failed to cover the spread for the 13th straight game. Iowa, an 8 point favorite lost a tough fought game to Penn State, 71-65.
Tyler Smith took over the game in the last 2 1/2 minutes for Penn State by scoring 10 points. Most of those came over Iowa Senior Reggie Evans. Reggie didn't start for the first time in 61 games at Iowa. "Reggie's got some issues of getting to class" said Iowa coach Steve Alford after the game. Evans "Matador" defense allowed Smith to make three baskets, including two treys. Ironically, without Evans this game would have been a rout. Reggie had 23 points and 13 rebounds in his 34 minutes on the court after sitting out the first 5 minutes.
To illustrate how far this team has slid down the annals of Hawkeye basketball teams for the first time in more than nine years, Iowa failed to hit a single 3-pointer, going 0-9 from behind the arc.
Senior Luke Recker scored 11 points despite spending more than 7 1/2 minutes on the bench in the second half after picking up his fourth foul. Luke's body was in Pennsylvania but his head was somewhere else as he appeared to be just going through the motions. "I don't know if he could tell you he was in Pennsylvania," Alford said.
Iowa had a chance to right their course but instead lost to a cellar dwellar. This team is floundering like a fish on the shore and Coach Alford indicated some players may not be back. "Guys who don't want to do our system, from an underclassman standpoint, probably won't be back next year."
"I apologize," Alford said. "I have no answers. I don't know where to go with this basketball team."
Iowa entertains Big Ten leader, Ohio State on Saturday at Carver-Hawkeye. Since it is a made for TV early game at 11:15 a.m., you may need an eye opener before the tip. The Wig & Pen serves dynamite Bloody Marys which you may need to fortify you for the game. See you there?