“Well, I didn’t expect that.”
Those were the first words out of Tommy Lloyd’s mouth when he sat down for his press conference after Arizona thoroughly destroyed Colorado 97-50 on Thursday night. The 47-point margin was the Wildcats’ largest in a conference game since 1997—did something else happen that year?—and helped at least partly wipe away the bad taste of the previous performance at Stanford.
Lloyd said he was happy for how well his team played, but with Utah coming to McKale Center on Saturday there’s no time to bask in the glow of that victory.
“There’s no plus/minus in this deal,” he said. “We won a conference game at home that we should win. Stanford got our attention and our guys responded, but it don’t mean a lot if we don’t respond again on Saturday.”
Our game recap can be found here. Below is what Lloyd, Pelle Larsson and Motiejus Krivas said afterward:
Lloyd on the defensive performance after allowing 100 at Stanford: “We’re a good defensive team, you gotta trust that. You’re gonna have tough nights like we did. And hey, look at some of the shots we made tonight, banking in threes and things like that. That happens. We were on the other side of that a few days ago and luckily today we flipped it.”
On if the defense fueled the offense or vice versa: “I always want to play complimentary basketball, and I think your defense has to complement your offense and your offense has to complement your defense. Anytime you’re playing really good defense, it can help drive your offense. There’s no doubt about that. If you’re playing with great force on the defensive end, rebounding and getting in transition, that’s usually a good formula.”
On Kylan Boswell: “I thought Kylan played well. Guys, Kylan is 18. Have some grace. Give him some space, give him some time. Let him develop. That’s what we’re doing. He played really well today, and hopefully he can continue to build on it. But by no means is he a finished product.”
On Krivas: “I thought today was his best game, just the overall toughness, effort and energy at both ends of the floor. When you’re when you’re a 7-footer in this program, you’re a bad man, and you got to play like it. And he’s learning that. He’s a really nice kid, really soft spoken, and he’s got to toughen up a little bit and he showed that tonight. He played best all-around game by far.”
On having a reliable backup center: “It helps us. Now you have 40 minutes of really good 5 play. If you find advantages at that position, it’s going to really help your team.”
On Krivas adapting to the American game: “It’s a new culture, a new coaching style, new everything. It’s a learning curve. You come over here, and he is a really good player. But you know what, sometimes you have to prove it to yourself when you’re in that environment and it takes some time to do that. And hopefully he’s trending in that direction.”
On jumping out to a big lead early: “It’s great when you do it, but I also think you got to be comfortable not doing it. These high-level basketball games are not going to be 30-point margins at the half. We got to get really comfortable playing in close ballgames. If it’s 22-20 at that third media timeout, we got to feel good. That’s something we’re working on.”
On the passing: “We want to be a great passing team. It’s something we talk about, something we work on, and I felt like it was better today. It was better.
On how much it affected Colorado not having 2 starters: “They’re still a good team, and they have the pieces in the right place. Now, those are two really high level players. And, and I know Coach Boyle pretty well. And I’m sure they got something waiting for us when we go back to Colorado. I’m sure those guys will be healthy and they’ll be locked and loaded.”
On facing Utah: “Utah is a really good program. Craig (Smith) has done a good job. Obviously, last year, they really took care of us at Utah when we got back from Maui and they played great that day. It was a little bit like our performance at Stanford, and so you tip your hat to him. He had a good team last year, he’s kind of got a lot of guys back, he’s added a piece or two. They’re playing really big, a couple 7-footers. (Branden) Carlson is becoming a really good player. I mean, he’s sprinting and hitting threes in movement. He’s hitting right hand jump hooks, you make a mistake, he dunks it on you, and he’s a good ballplayer. So they play him at the 4 and they have the Lovering kid that was at Colorado last year at the 5 and then they have another 5, (Kobe) Keita off the bench, who’s tough. They present a lot of challenges. They got a couple of knockdown shooters, an experienced point guard. They’re definitely an NCAA tournament team for sure in my mind. Not even close, they’re really good.”
On being back at McKale after nearly a month away: “I ran our team through a gauntlet. I would have been shocked if we would have got through it unscathed. Obviously that’s what we wanted to do, but it didn’t happen. And then the luck or unlock of the draw your first two conference games are on the road and the next ything ou know you haven’t played home in a month. Maybe we got a little bit worn down physically, emotionally. It’s hard to trend up all the time.”
Larsson on the win: “It felt really good. I feel like everyone had great energy. Every time we play in McKale, like you get so much energy from our fans and our crowd. It’s really, really hard to not come out as excited as we were.”
On bouncing back from the Stanford loss: “We definitely wanted a game like this. But I mean we just want wins at the end of the day. It just counts as one win and we want to get another win on Saturday.”
On the defense: “We’ve been working hard and really taking a step back and redoing some things and looks like it’s working. So we just got to stick to that. Not really tweaking much, just getting back to what we were doing earlier in the season. Looking back (at) how we were playing then, and then recently. Just being a little bit more handsy, aggressive. Most of all just playing together, moving like one on defense. And we did a good job on switches today. They got a few backdoor cuts, but nothing too crazy.”
On getting that pass from Boswell: “I’m just trying to make sure he doesn’t get a turnover. If he throws it I’ll go get it. He does amazing things like that pretty often. He’s a great guy and great player. I just run and he’ll probably find me.”
On Boswell’s shooting: “He started great. I mean, you can’t expect the guy that should 60 percent the whole season. The ball goes in sometimes, sometimes not. You just got to find the balance of feeding our big guys and getting your own shots.”
Krivas on getting used to defenders grabbing at the ball: “I think it’s still the most, one of the biggest things. I get in those situations every game.”
On his development: “I’m just developing together like all of us on our team.”
On the Stanford game: “It was a really tough loss. The coaches in practice just pushed us.”