SAN ANTONIO—Arizona’s dream season ended in a nightmare on Thursday night, falling 72-60 to Houston in the Sweet 16.
Our full recap can be found here. Below is what coach Tommy Lloyd, center Christian Koloko and guards Bennedict Mathurin and Dalen Terry had to say afterward.
Lloyd on Houston’s defensive intensity: “Houston is one of those teams where you’re better served off if you play them a couple times. I think the first time you play them, they do the things they’re good at at such a high level, that it’s hard for you to get comfortable the first time around, and maybe the second time you play them, you can try to tell your guys what’s coming, but they actually have a lot better feel for it actually having experienced it.”
Mathurin (in French) on how the game went: “I don’t have a lot to say. It was a tough game. There’s a lot of things we could have done better to win the game. I don’t have a lot to say.”
Lloyd on Azuolas Tubelis’ recent play: “He obviously didn’t play very good by his standards the last couple games. I felt like at the start of the second half he was giving us something, and we were kind of able to get him in some different short role scenarios. He got downhill, and he had one of those weekends where he couldn’t buy a shot. I’m looking forward to taking a little bit of a rest for myself and for him and getting back in the gym with Zu. I think he’s got a huge jump coming in his near future.”
Koloko on not being able to come back like in previous games: “We’re just going to give credit to them. They played a really good game. They did everything the coach wanted them to do. We came out in the second half and started playing our game, and we fell back to what we were doing the first half. You’ve just got to give credit to them. They played really good. Yeah, they deserved to win.”
Lloyd on the team’s performance overall this season: “Overall it was great. I thanked these guys after the game. They’re an amazing group of guys. I’ll always be thankful for them. I think they helped me get Arizona basketball off to a good start in my tenure, and I’ll always be thankful for them.
“I think we really built some foundational pieces this year that are really going to serve us well moving forward. Extremely proud of the guys. Extremely proud of the coaching staff. We ran into a really good team tonight that was just a little bit too much for us.”
Mathurin on his future: “Next thing for me is to get in the gym and get better. Whatever the future has for me has for me. That’s basically it.”
Lloyd on the fan support: “Yeah, the fan support was great. We obviously have a tremendous fan base. It started out a little bit slow, but there’s a lot of new things in the program. So we proved it, and once we started proving it, they came out. They really supported us. I’m excited going forward because I want to build it and make it even better. I want our fan base to be the best in the country, and I think we have the potential to do that. I look forward to rolling up my sleeves this off-season and getting to work on that.”
Mathurin on having 10 of his 15 points in the second half: “Obviously, I came back from a strong game (against TCU), so I would just say they were pretty aggressive on me when I was dribbling the ball and coming off ball screens. So I would just say they were pretty aggressive on me. I was able to talk with my coaches and see what was the best options for me when I was coming out of ball screens or some read I could make in order for the team, the best of the team.”
Lloyd on if he was caught off guard by Houston’s defensive approach: “They’re great defensively. They’re the (No. 10) defense in the country for a reason. They’re a hard team to get runs on because offensively they control the tempo and they’re great offensive rebounding. It’s hard to get multiple stops in a row to make those kind of runs. Defensively they didn’t do anything we didn’t expect. I think we probably need a little more experience going against it. I’m sure I’ll go back, and when I watch the film, I’ll pick up some things I wish I would have saw during the game, but that’s always how it goes. They get a ton of credit. They do what they do, and they do it at a really high level. That’s why they’re consistently good.”
Terry on if he’s considering testing the NBA waters: “We’re not thinking about that right now. We just lost a game. We’re just going to get back to Tucson and relax for a little bit and get back in the gym.”
Koloko on looking at the NBA: “Same thing.”
Koloko on the season as a whole: “We’re proud of the guys. We started the season, and nobody believed in us. We made them believe in us. I want to thank the fans because they show us unbelievable support throughout the season. Yeah, like I said, we started the season and no one believed in us. I think we were ranked … some people ranked us like fifth in the Pac-12 or something like that. We exceeded that. We won the Pac-12 regular season, we won the Pac-12 tournament, and we get to the Sweet 16.
“We knew we could have done better. That’s why our team is sad right now. We knew we could have done better. We knew how good of a team we was, but right now we can’t do anything. So we’ve just got to learn from it.”