Kevin Durant came down from Phoenix, as did Miles Simon. School career rushing leader Ka’Deem Carey was there. So was new football coach Brent Brennan, who was chumming with star players he’s hoping will stick around for next season.
Maybe they came because Bronny James was in town with USC. Tommy Lloyd thinks otherwise.
“Arizona basketball, it’s a show,” Lloyd said after the Wildcats’ 82-67 win over the Trojans. “I mean, I wish we would have played better for everybody tonight, but at the end of the day, we got the result we needed. It didn’t feel great, but we did.”
Our recap can be found here. Below is what Lloyd, Keshad Johnson and Pelle Larsson said after the victory:
Lloyd on Arizona having five 3-point plays but still missing a lot of layups: “The and-ones are great, that’s a number that I didn’t have. But I just would like to see us finish better overall. I think we’re taking some crazy attempts and that’s just something that’s never been a part of Arizona basketball since I’ve been here. We need better discipline and shot selection even on our layups. We need to get paid when we get the ball in there. That’s two games in a row where I feel like we struggled a little. If you have a layup you got a responsibility to deliver for your team. I don’t care what they’re in. I mean, it’s a layup. And layups aren’t easy, they’re not, but good teams make layups. I’m talking like in transition. I’m talking over all, I’m not just talking about (against) a zone. When you shoot a layup you have a responsibility to make it or get fouled. Those are your two options, and you don’t get any extra points for dipsy do or jumping in the air and trying to do something crazy. And you know what? These referees, either they don’t see the foul or they don’t fall for it. Probably both things happen, so we just got to do a better job.”
On Arizona’s energy: “You play against that much zone, sometimes it changes the rhythm of the game. At halftime we’re up 10, I didn’t necessarily feel great, but when you look at the efficiency we’re 1.3 on offense, which is better than our normal. But in the second half, we kind of got stagnant for whatever reason. SC deserves some credit, but we know we got to keep getting better.”
On the key to avoiding stagnancy against the zone: “You have to have guys that kind of that move together, two or three guys that are on the same page. You can’t run just set plays against the zone all the time, the best way to attack zone is just feel for the game and passing and skill and force, and we just didn’t do a good job in the second half putting those things together.”
On starting Jaden Bradley in the second half over Kylan Boswell: “Just trying to shake it up a little bit. JB has been playing well, he’s been having really good impact on our team. It’s no slide on Kylan. And sometimes, you don’t start a kid, it’s hard to have his minutes when basically the first four minutes of each half they don’t play. So then they’re down to 32 instead of 40. It was nothing, I was just trying to shake it up a little bit. I’ll continue to evaluate it, I haven’t made any final decisions.”
On Oumar Ballo’s free throws: “I mean, they looked better today. I don’t know if I’m concerned because I just think there’s a value for him getting us in the bonus and the double bonus. Obviously I would feel better if he was making 75 percent of them, but he does so many other positive things I can’t just get hung up on that.”
On having 20-plus offensive rebounds for the second game in a row: “I want it to balance out. I don’t want to miss so many shots, so then there’s so many offensive rebounds available. I mean, that would be my preference. I would rather have 12 or 13 offensive rebounds and six or seven more makes. It’s great we’re offensive rebounding, it’s better than not offensive rebounding, but we need to start making some shots.”
On if this performance was good enough to beat UCLA on Saturday: “USC was shorthanded. Could we beat SC at 100 percent, I don’t know? We got a UCLA team coming in here, I know how hard that game is gonna be, I’m not tricking myself. I know that’s going to be a knockdown drag out, so we got to continue to get better. Sometimes you go through these lulls in the season and you come out of them better, but it’s not easy. You’ve got to keep fighting.”
On Bronny James: “I thought he played pretty good today. I don’t know him at all, but I’m proud of how he’s handled everything. And the people that I know that know him say first class kid, first class family.”
On the UCLA game: “It’s gonna be a battle. That’s a program that has a ton of pride. They have a coach who knows how to get his team to play hard, they’re going to be prepared. We’re going to have to come in and it’s going to be a knockdown drag out battle. I imagine it’s going to be a hardfought, traditional Arizona/UCLA game just like 95 percent of them are.”
On the last time McKale could host an Arizona/UCLA game: “It’s not going to be the last time Arizona and UCLA. I mean, it might be as members of the Pac-12, but it won’t be the last time. I don’t know exactly when or where the next time is going to be, but there will be more games between Arizona and UCLA.”
Johnson on offensive rebounding and missing layups: “We hit more shots today than we did against Washington State, so I think we’re headed in the right direction. Offensive rebounds are a good category every time, whether we made the shots or not. We want to finish strong around the rim. That’s all he’s trying to say.”
On why so many misses are happening in the paint: “I feel like sometimes, it’s just the natural nature of a basketball player when you get into the paint sometime you expect a foul. You want to draw the foul, and that takes away from you actually going to finish, not hoping for a call. We just got to get better on that end.”
On facing a zone: “From the Washington State game you could see we learned from that. They played a zone the majority of the game. compared to today. You can see that we look a lot more comfortable, a lot better. We’re just going in the right direction. We just gotta keep it up.”
Larsson on picking up fouls: “The biggest for me, most of the fouls that get me in trouble, it’s not really being too aggressive it’s just dumb decisions. Like not jumping when you’re in a restricted area, or I had a few at Washington State I wish I could take back. It’s just little things, the stupid ones, because you always got to play aggressive and that’s the play I play. If I just take away away the stupid onces I can keep playing.”
On drawing fouls: “Just drive to the basket, put foul pressure. Use fakes and just get to the basket and try to draw some fouls to put the other team in bad position so I can take free throws.”
On facing UCLA: “At this point we got to win every game. Every game is must win, so every game means a lot to us. Not just this game tonight or UCLA, every game in front of us. Every game is extra.
On McKale’s final Arizona/UCLA game: “We’ve always had great games against them and they’re great program. They’ve had a lot of good players come through there and we’ve always had really good games and the crowd probably enjoys that. Hopefully we’ll have one more.”