clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

What Tommy Lloyd, Kerr Kriisa and Azuolas Tubelis said after Arizona’s win over Utah Tech

arizona-wildcats-basketball-tommy-lloyd-kerr-kriisa-azuolas-tubelis-postgame-interview-utah-tech David Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona had little trouble with another opponent on Thursday night, cruising to a 104-77 win over Utah Tech in its final game before heading to the Maui Invitational.

Our full recap can be found here. Below is what coach Tommy Lloyd, point guard Kerr Kriisa and forward Azuolas Tubelis had to say afterward:

Lloyd on Arizona going 22 of 22 from the foul line: “It’s great. We value free throws, it’s a big part of what we do. To see guys step up and make them at that clip is huge. It’s probably not gonna happen every night, but I think overall we could be a really good free throw shooting team. A big key to that is Oumar (Ballo), if you have a five man like that, that is that big and can draw that many fouls, it’s a lot ready for a defense to handle especially if he can step up and make his free throws.”

On the defense: “It’s growing. I think you gotta get games under your belt. You want to play against different styles and different actions, and then figure how we want to guard (against) Plan A and Plan B. I’m seeing growth, I definitely am seeing growth. It’s hard, some of these games you get these big leads and your second unit or your last group comes in there and gives up some threes and drives a coach crazy, because you’re fighting hard to have good numbers. But I thought overall in the first half we were really good. (Utah Tech was) a set, base-oriented team and an inside-oriented team and I thought we were able to take away.”

On Kerr Kriisa making 6 3-pointers: “Tell him to shoot more. He’s such a good player, and he he can involve others so easily sometimes I think he’s turning down open shots for himself, and then what happens next, sometimes it’s a good thing sometimes it’s a bad thing. The way they were playing defense, they were trying offensively to try to keep the ball on one side of the floor, so it creates weak-side rotations and a lot of open opportunities if you’re willing to hunt. I told him, I told him in the second half to start shooting threes. I thought at end of the first half, we had an extra pass 3 to him, kind of right in front of their bench, and he turned down the shot and I think we ended up turning the ball over. I told him, you’ve got to shoot those shots. That’s the best team shot we’re going to get, as an unselfish player you got to shoot it.”

On if the first 3 games have prepared Arizona for Maui: “I think we’re good. We had a couple of days this past weekend when we didn’t have a game and we were kind of able to put some things in that potentially we could face in Maui. I think we’re good. I think we got through these first three games, our guys are getting a feeling for how hard you need to play. The new guys are understanding that there’s a level of effort and a standard that you got to meet to be an Arizona basketball player and they’re starting to hit that.”

On Cedric Henderson Jr.: “I thought Cedric tonight was electric. To see him play with that effort, hat’s kind of what I had envisioned with him. But again, it takes time for that to happen. There was two plays (against Southern) ... two plays in the first four minutes where we were in a transition opportunity and Pelle (Larsson) literally outran him both times. We showed Ced, that’s how you get going in this system. He had some great effort today, and I think that resonated with him.”

On playing the Maui Invitational: “I think it’s my sixth (trip). It’s an awesome tournament. It’s the premium preseason tournament. It’s special for your fans, and I know Arizona fans are going to be there. A special venue, and it’s a great field. Basketball-wise, we’re looking to kind want to go figure out where we’re, at where we stand. We’re going to be aggressive and we’re gonna go for it. Obviously, your goal is to win the tournament, but if you can’t get past you don’t get a chance, so we’re 100 percent locked in on Cincinnati.”

On playing Arizona in Maui in 2018: “I just remember it was a hard-fought game. I remember they had a little guard (Justin Coleman) who wasn’t known for shooting it very well. On those soft Maui rims he hit like six threes. I think they had a little bit of a lead and I think we kind of wore them out in the second half, and set up an epic battle between Duke and Gonzaga, between (Rui) Hachimura and Brandon Clarke and I think it was RJ Barrett and Zion (Williamson). It was a special, special tournament.”

On what getting Courtney Ramey back will mean to the team: “I think it lifts everybody up. Everybody on our team loves Courtney, and they know he’s a really good player. It makes us better. I mean, I had to keep reminding myself we’re adding a really good player to the mix who is an efficient ball handler, efficient shooter. Is tough, proven, plays his butt off on defense. As a coach it feels great. Courtney’s an awesome person. I’m thankful we have him. He took one on the chin there and had to sit those three games, but that’s how it goes. He handled it with class, he practiced well, he worked out extra and I know he’s fired up to play Monday evening.”

On if the turnovers are concerned or a byproduct of Arizona’s pace: “Probably a little bit of both. Obviously we need to reel them in and be able to get that number closer to 12. And it seems like they’re happening in a number of areas and with a number of individuals. What I don’t want to do is I don’t want to be conservative and make our players tentative. We’re going for it and hopefully we’ll start to see some results and the turnovers will reduce and the the efficiency will go up even more.”

On the bench only scoring 10 points: “There’s a law of averages that applies to the game of basketball and sometimes they score, sometimes they don’t, but usually it ends up balancing out. I don’t know why they didn’t score, maybe our bigs were scoring so easy that they didn’t need to score and they just came in and made all the right plays.”

On if Arizona will practice as soon as it arrives in Maui on Saturday: “When I get to Maui, practice usually isn’t the first thing on my mind. I’m gonna get out there and enjoy some nice weather and scenery and have a good dinner with our guy. And then hopefully, we’ll push all the buttons and be ready to go Monday night.”

Kriisa on being prepared for Maui: “I think we’re in a good spot. It’s going to be a big, big challenge for us, but we’re excited for it.”

On going 6 of 7 from 3 and being 11 of 16 this season: “They went in, I guess. We knew coming into the game they were going to play zone. I’m trying to be consistent with hunting my shot. I’m up and down with my shot (selection), some games I take two shots and other games I take eight shots.I’m trying to find a good balance, so it’s no surprise for my teammates if I take more shots.”

On getting Ramey back: “Courtney is exciting. It’s been really painful watching from the sidelines because he really works hard. Courtney brings us experience, a toughness to the team, coming from Texas, the defensive stuff that we need.”

On Arizona going 22 of 22 from the line: “I guess if you take some extra reps then they actually go in more often.”

Tubelis on how Arizona has looked so far: “We look really good offensively, but we need to take care of the ball more.”

On Henderson: “He looks more confident. He just needed more time, more games. He played amazing tonight.”