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What Tommy Lloyd, Kerr Kriisa and Christian Koloko said after Arizona’s win over Washington

Arizona Wildcats v Washington Huskies Photo by Rebecca Noble/Getty Images

The Arizona Wildcats overcame sloppy play to outlast Washington 95-79 Monday night and move to 2-0 in Pac-12 play. After the game, coach Tommy Lloyd and players Kerr Kriisa and Christian Koloko spoke about the team’s win. Videos of the pressers can be found at the bottom.

Lloyd on his overall takeaway from the win: “I got a lot of respect for Coach (Mike) Hopkins. He’s a friend of mine. I battled against him when he and I were at Syracuse and Gonzaga and then when he was at Washington and I was at Gonzaga. Playing against them is a pain. And I know obviously they haven’t gotten off to a great start this year. But I think they’re a better team than their record indicates and they’re a pain. That zone, they seem a little more committed now to playing that zone than they were earlier in the year. And they add the big fella (Riley Sorn) so they have another 7-foot-3 guy they throw in there that’s interesting. He’s actually from the northwest, so I’ve seen him play a lot and that kid has gotten so much better. I’m really happy for him. But they do an unbelievable job of creating turnovers when you’re trying to pass inside the zone and then when you’re trying to pass from inside to outside the zone. You can’t simulate it at practice. Hopefully it was a great learning experience for our guys, and we got the win. So all in all, I’m happy.”

Lloyd on Dalen Terry’s all-around play: “Dalen’s a do-all player. He’s been working really hard in his shot. We’ve kind of been doing some tweaks here and there and I just told him, ‘Listen, we don’t need to stress out about it because you do so many other things well. Let’s not forget about those and just focus on maybe something that’s not your strength.’ But to see him knock down a couple of threes I think was great for our team and great for his confidence.”

Lloyd on rebounding: “We had individual meetings with the guys and I really challenged Pelle (Larsson) and Dalen to start rebounding better. I feel like Dalen was only averaged about 4.1 rebounds per game and Pelle was like 2.9 and you guys have been next to the those, they’re two physical specimens. They got to be aggressive on the glass. I think they had 19 rebounds between them today. So the message was received and they get all the credit for going out there and making it happen.”

Lloyd on what Terry’s versatility brings to the team: “Well, Dalen gets guy shots. He gets guys good shots and he’s a big guy, he’s able to make penetrating passes. You guys know, I love two point shots, and he gets a lot of great action around the basket, and he’s really getting really good in transition. And then against that zone, he and Kerr kind of had a nice little connection going there. That zone, they can kind of play off non-shooters and extend on shooters. They adjust on that zone, so they did a good job. Kerr did a great job of having his feet ready and knocking down some tough, half contested threes, but those are some shots you got to shoot against Washington.”

Lloyd on whether Arizona settled for too many jumpers: “In theory, for sure. The deal with that zone is there’s a cumulative effect to it. They just hang with it and they make subtle little adjustments in it. You might make some shots early, and then you don’t make them and then you start getting a little anxious and a little tight, and then they come down to the other end. And what’s really interesting when you play Washington is their offense complements their defense. If they get a steal or a turnover, they’re running it down trying to dunk it. So they’ll play fast. If they don’t, they’ll bring the ball slow up the court, they’ll get in their little ISO dribble situations, and they’ll kind of read a very simple action and kind of pick the matchup they want. So it really kind of, it allows them to in a certain way to control the game at both ends of the floor. I think it took our guys a little bit while to kind of get comfortable with that today. So they executed their plan well and luckily our guys were good enough today to kind of stay up all game. I think they cut it to like four or five at one point in the second half. But all in all, we did a good job kind of keeping our lead at eight to 10 and kind of ride that out over the course of the game.”

Lloyd on whether there’s any concern at the bench’s lack of scoring: “No, listen. Our bench players are good players. Justin (Kier) didn’t have a great night. Maybe it’s his first time playing against that zone and he had some passing errors. I think he had three turnovers in the first half. Oumar (Ballo)’s energy didn’t look great tonight. When they got in there, he got a couple offensive rebounds, but then they got a couple of offensive rebounds on him. So, those were the things I saw tonight. So that’s the reason we made the decisions we did. But I’m gonna give Pelle a ton of credit. Pelle kinda tweaked his ankle there and he kind of looked a little shaky in the first half and then he kind of settled in and, and we went small that last stretch, maybe just to give us some better defensive matchups, and fortunately, it worked and Pette gets a ton of credit for kind of toughing it out on a tweaked ankle.”

Lloyd on what contributed to the team’s late game success and stopping Terrell Brown Jr.: “We had energy. We made a few plays, got a couple rebounds, and maybe picked up a couple loose balls. Our defense has been really good and tonight it wasn’t for long stretches in that game. And we’re gonna sit down and watch it and address it. But you know, I think Washington gets some credit for that. Terrell Brown was spectacular. That’s the first time I’ve really seen him seen him play or scouted him and he’s a heck of a player and, he gets a ton of credit for coming in here tonight and giving his old team 28. So you tip your hat to him and he had I think six assists, one turnover, five steals. That’s a heck of a game but I told our guys listen, ‘he’s a really good player, and he’s got a ton of freedom and he’s got a ton of experience. He might win a few of the battles but our ultimate goal is to win the war as a team and luckily we were able to do that.”

Lloyd on the importance of Kriisa getting hot from behind the arc: “Honestly, I’m never worried when Kerr puts up too many shots. I’ve seen him make a bunch of them and when you play the way Kerr does, the coach player relationship, there has to be a mutual respect and an understanding. I’ve got to give him freedom. I don’t know if Kerr’s as good a player if you put the shackles on him. Now you know, Kerr’s got to handle that freedom with responsibility, which he does most of the time. The shooting and the shot selection, we talk about it a little bit, but I told him, I want him to have his feet ready. I want him to be aggressive. Now I want him to continue to grow as a playmaker and in little by little different techniques that will play into Kerr Kriisa’s advantage. Kerr’s game’s probably going to be different than Dalen’s. So I want Kerr to really lock into those and I think he’s at a really cool part of his career where he has confidence, he’s starting to have some success and, to be honest with you, I’m going to really challenge him to make a big jump here in the next month.”

Lloyd on the pressure to blow out opponents: “I’m not paying too much attention to that. For me in those games I try to keep my head about me and I reminded our guys, I think like at the under 12 media timeout in the second half, I just wrote plus eight on the board. I’m like, ‘guys we’re up eight, okay? So let’s not panic, we don’t need to win this game by 40.’ We just need to make sure we win it. So settle into the game and understand in conference games, you’re not going to win every one in a blowout, and there might not be any blowout. So you got to get comfortable playing close, hard-fought games, and I think we’re getting there as a team. I’m a result-oriented guy, and I tell my staff, I’m most focused on two analytics: Ws and Ls. And we got the win tonight. I’m gonna feel good about it and roll up my sleeves and figure out areas we can get better.”

Lloyd on whether he’s sometimes surprised at Bennedict Mathurin’s progress: “He’s learning. It’s just so much fun to watch him learn. I felt like a little bit early in that second half, he was a little bit out of sorts with the movement, with the zone. So we subbed him and I told Murph to go talk to him and find a couple of different pockets in that zone. And he did a great job of listening. You saw him get down in that baseline in there and attack the center. And he’s athletic and strong enough to do it and got a couple of and ones. So, I’m not surprised because he’s doing it every night. He’s really consistent. He’s doing it on a daily basis, and I’m really happy for him. He and I have had some great talks and we’re both locked into just winning for Arizona basketball right now.”

Lloyd on going small and whether he’s concerned about Azuolas Tubelis the last few games: “No, no no. Zu, he has been really good defensively this year. And that was an area of concern we all had coming into the season. And had really answered it was he was really guarding well in the perimeter. He maybe got stuck on a few screens and didn’t have the urgency he had on Matthews. But coming into the game, Matthews was a low percentage shooter and then he decides to make his first four threes. So, it wasn’t anything crazy. He hadn’t been out of the game yet in the second half. I think he played the first 12 minutes and I just was, ‘hey, let’s give Pelle a chance and see how it goes.’ And it’s just one of those deals. The last eight minutes you had a lineup out there that was playing pretty well on both ends of the floor. So we just rode it out. Nothing really detrimental to Zu. The biggest thing with Zu that I have is, he’s got to rebound better, and he’s got to take care of the ball. He’s got to really, really hone in on those two areas, and I think if he does he’ll make a big jump.”

Lloyd on whether Kriisa needs to reel in his demeanor: “It’s a fine line. Kerr needs that edge probably to help him function at a high level out there. And he and I definitely have conversations about it, and we’ll continue to have conversations about it. But Kerr is a mature guy and he’s open to those conversations. I said this on the radio. I think the biggest strength of this team is they got a great spirit. And I don’t want to crush that spirit, So I’m walking a fine line as a coach. Maybe traditionally you would get a little bit more upset at some things, but I’m trying to look at the big picture of these guys. I’m trying to coach them as individuals within a team concept. And so with Kerr, we’ll continue to work on him being at his best and trying to figure out exactly what his best looks like and how chippy that needs to be.”

Kriisa on the team’s defensive effort: “Kind of the whole game we weren’t who we are usually on defense, and we just have to play tougher and a little bit harder on defense and be more grittier. So I feel like that was the main message for all of us and I feel like we did play a little bit tougher and grittier the second half.”

Koloko on whether Arizona settled for too many first half jumpers: “I think the first half, it was working both way, inside and outside. So I think it was going a lot inside, and our guards were doing a good job shooting the ball. Every time they go and shoot the ball, we don’t have any problem with that. We’re okay with Kerr shooting it every time because we know he’s going to make it. So it wasn’t a big issue for us having the guards shoot the ball.”

Kriisa on Arizona’s shot selection against Washington’s zone: “Yeah but every game is also different. Obviously everybody in the country knows that Washington plays zone. We started off good. We made shots and then their zone moved up, so we had more chances to get the ball inside and find those good angles to score inside. So I think it was really big for us that we started off good after these three games that we didn’t start off that good.”

Koloko on what was behind the turnovers: “We know Washington is a team that causes a lot of turnovers. Coming into the game we knew that. I think we just didn’t do a good job. Like me personally, I had like four turnovers. I got the rebound and I just give the ball to the opposite team. So I think we just have to do a better job, just be poised when you have the double team and all that, just trust ourselves.”

Kriisa on what led to the turnovers: “Yeah, obviously their defense is different and we don’t play against this defense every day. Also, I feel like there was a lot of stupid turnovers that we could easily, I feel like there were nine, 10 turnovers that we shouldn’t even have, so we got to fix that for upcoming games for sure.”

Koloko on former teammate Terrell Brown’s outing: “He’s one of the leading scorers in the nation, so we knew coming in he was going to go be hard. He wants to get his shots. We know Terrell is a really good player. We saw that last year when he was with us. I think right now he has a big opportunity to be the man and take whatever shot he wants, and I think he did a really good job today just getting inside and doing his job.

Kriisa on Brown’s performance: “Terrell is a hell of a player. Obviously we all knew that when was here with us last year. But we didn’t really want to put extra – we were playing Washington, not Terrell. Obviously Terrell is huge part of his team. He’s the heart of the team. So basically, Terrell plays good, they have a chance. That’s what they showed today also for quite a bit. So Terrell’s a heck of a player and all credits to him.”

Koloko on what Kriisa’s shooting does for the offense: “It helps a lot. When he’s making all his shots like that, they’re gonna focus more on him and he’s gonna make the other guys open like me inside. Just every time I’m going to be open. Benn the baseline, he’s just doing his job. Everybody is going to be open. We need to keep doing it and we know he’s capable of shooting the ball the way he shot today.”