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What Tommy Lloyd, Azuolas Tubelis and Henri Veesaar said after Arizona’s win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi

arizona-wildcats-basketball-corpus-christ-islanders-tommy-lloyd-azuolas-tubelis-henri-veessar Photo by Rebecca Noble/Getty Images

Arizona didn’t have much trouble with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Tuesday night, winning 99-61 after a sluggish first part of the game, though it did have to deal with losing starting point guard Kerr Kriisa to an illness early on.

“You’re always dealing with adversity,” UA coach Tommy Lloyd said. “To see our guys get better and better in responding to that, whether it’s something internal or from an opponent, there’s a lot of positives in that.”

Our full recap from the win can be found here. Below is what Lloyd, junior Azuolas Tubelis and freshman Henri Veesaar said afterward:

Lloyd on Kriisa: “Kerr is fine. He hasn’t been feeling well, a little bit rundown. I don’t think it’s anything significant. We’ve been riding pretty hard and he’s got a little bit of a bug and he just didn’t feel it today. He’s got tremendous heart and tremendous character, so I don’t question it. And it actually played out well that some of our other guys got some extended minutes, and it forced me to look down the line a little bit it. And that’s a good thing for this program, because we need those guys to develop.”

On if there was discussion of not playing him: “We had no plan. He told me yesterday didn’t feel well, and today we just kind of went about business as usual and he just got out there and just didn’t feel good. So we decided to give it a go without him. He told me he couldn’t go. So I was like, okay. I’m in the heat of the moment. I don’t have time for a lengthy discussion or a follow up question.”

On if he could be unavailable for the Tennessee game on Saturday: “Not in my opinion.”

On Kylan Boswell subbing in for Kriisa: “I thought Kylan looked really good. I think really good, and I think there’s some easy fixes for him, as he gets more comfortable being a point guard in our system. Kylan is going to be a really good player. For him to get comfortable running the offense, connecting on a few passes, make a few threes, it’s a huge boost for his confidence and it’s a huge boost for our team’s confidence in him. We know he’s a really good player, but to see him do it, it’s really meaningful.”

On Arizona’s reserves scoring 51 points: “I watch practice every day and I want those guys to get better. I thought that they were struggling, and they were all struggling individually. And I think they need to learn how to struggle collectively, and lean on each other, support each other, and kind of go through a shared experience together. It’s way easier to get through when you have people going through it with you. And so I really challenged them to give to each other. If you give, then there’s this crazy thing in life, sometimes you get. And then I told them I was hoping they would get to play some meaningful minutes tonight. I told them the really cool thing is a month ago you weren’t ready, and I knew it. You didn’t know it. But you’re ready now, and I know you’re ready. So don’t come into this game nervous, come into it like you belong, and I thought they did that.”

On hitting 15 of 28 3-pointers: “I think on a lot of nights you’ll have open shots. For us it’s just about finding the discipline to take the right open shots, but we don’t want to let teams off the hook (in the paint). You can still get the ball inside and get to the paint if they’re trying to keep you out. It’s like, there’s not a stop sign. So we just got to maybe get a little better a post passing and a little more wherewithal and make sure we’re taking the right threes, and I thought for the most part I thought we did.”

On Veesaar: “I love the kid, I think he’s going to be really good. And I think he’s at an early part of his learning curve. And I think he’s making progress. I’ve just really been encouraging him to tighten up his technique and master some of these fundamentals and enjoy that process. And acknowledge I need to work there. To me, he looks like he’s starting to develop better habits. His shooting technique looks like it’s getting a little bit better. But I told him, when you start playing harder, start playing a little tougher, it’s amazing how you start shooting better. That’s kind of how the game rewards you.”

On turning it over 5 times in the first 3 minutes: “We kind of compared them to kind of a Nicholls State, or the Southern team we played earlier, where they’re really handsy and really aggressive and they’re obviously they’re going to go for a bunch of steals, and then they kind of hedged off ball screens, and that’s something we haven’t faced much this year. It was a calculated risk on their part that paid some dividends early, but we kind of settled in.”

On Courtney Ramey’s leadership: “Courtney’s a great guy. He’s growing in this program, too. Even though he’s been in (college) his fifth year, he has a lot of experience . He’s been through a lot of tough times, so I think he’s a guy that will try to encourage the younger guys when they are struggling. I see a lot of growth opportunities for him inside of our program ... but we got to dive into them and try to grow into some of those areas.”

On Tennessee: “Really good. We played them last year, and they have some familiar faces, but it’s gonna be a fistfight. That’s the way they play, and there’s just no other way to describe it. If you think you’re gonna go in and win this game, by being dainty and cute, you’ve got another thing coming. We’re excited for the challenge, and it’s a great program coming to McKale. I think Coach (Rick) Barnes is one of the best ever to do it and so it’s an honor for us to compete against them. We’re going to come out and give it a shot.”

On what he remembers about last year’s loss at Tennessee: “Sixteen to two. 16-2. That’s my memory.”

On preparing for an ultra-physical opponent: “We might be a really physical team, too, and we are. We’re built to be a really physical team and we got to keep hammering that home. I don’t know if it’s ugly or beautiful, but it’s gonna be a fight, and we’re gonna fight.”

Tubelis on playing against a smaller opponent: “They’re not that tall, so obviously they used that advantage and went for steals. It’s hard to play against that kind of teams. We just figured it out later in the game, found our open guys and made a lot of 3s.”

On the bench production: “It really helps a lot. To have those guys play well, it’s huge.”

On what he remembers from the Tennessee loss: “I remember they really had a good atmosphere there. It was packed, sold out. We didn’t start the game well at all. Personally I was lost, I didn’t know what I was doing on the court. It’s hard to catch (up to) a team that’s first in the team defensively. It’s hard to lose when you’re behind that many points. We didn’t start to scout them, but we will on Thursday.”

On if foul trouble contributed to his performance at Tennessee: “I always have fouls, it’s not a new thing.”

On Boswell: “He plays really well. He fits in this system really well. He knows when to pass and when to shoot a 3. I’m happy for him, he’s made a huge step forward.”

Veesaar on his career-high 16 points: “The shots started falling in. It felt great and I kept shooting. It took me a little bit of an adjustment to get used to US style of basketball.”

On why he was struggling: “Maui was kind of a shock. I was like, oh, the teams are that good here. I slowly got used to it, and when we played against Indiana I played good minutes there, so it helped with my confidence coming to this game.”

On playing a smaller opponent: “They’re a really scrappy team, but they also overhelp, so that gave us a lot of freedom to hit 3s.”

On Lloyd talking to him and the other reserves: “We were kind of struggling as a bench unit, but Tommy brought us all together. It just kind of helped us to know we’re all in the same situation and we can push through it. He said that everybody goes through it, it’s not (just us). It was in our head. He talked to us like he would do with his family.”