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What Tommy Lloyd, Kerr Kriisa and Cedric Henderson Jr. had to say after Arizona’s win over Montana State

arizona-wildcats-mens-basketball-msu-bobcats-postgame-interview-tommy-lloyd-kriisa-henderson Zachary BonDurant-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona had no trouble beating a solid Montana State team on Tuesday night, but Tommy Lloyd’s demeanor in the postgame press conference was more like that of a coach on the wrong side of the final score.

“We won by (21), but you still have standards that you gotta hit,” Lloyd said. “So I want those standards hit more often, because I want this team to be really successful this year.”

Our full recap from the 85-64 win can be found here. Below is what Lloyd, Kerr Kriisa and Cedric Henderson Jr. said afterward:

On Montana State: “Montana State is a good program. And I know that’s coach speak, but they are, and I thought they did a really good job tonight executing their game plan. We hung in there, and luckily we were playing at home, and we kind of did good enough to get us over the top.”

On if MSU trying to slow the game down contributed to the offensive numbers: “I don’t know what the exact possession numbers are, but we still scored 85 points, and I don’t think we even shot a great percentage. The points were there for the taking, we just maybe missed some shots that we were hoping to make. We got to get better. We got to get better, and that’s been my message to the guys. A few wins in November and December doesn’t mean you’re a great team. We played a really good Creighton team in Maui ... obviously they’ve had an injury, they’ve hit a tough stretch. Indiana is a really good ballclub, played them, then after they got down with us they hit a tough stretch a little bit. There’s no givens in this deal, and we got to make sure that we’re on it.”

On if the energy was low coming off the Tennessee win: “I understand what everybody, the connection they’re trying to make. But when you sit in my seat, and you’re trying to drive a culture, there’s standards. We got to meet those standards no matter who we’re playing. I mean, come on, these college guys play 35, 40 games, if they’re lucky. You got to be excited to play. And I’m not saying we didn’t, I’m not saying we didn’t play hard, but I don’t know if we played hard enough. I just feel like our teamness, at times, can be a little disconnected, and I don’t like that. It just doesn’t sit well with me. That doesn’t mean I’m mad at the guys or anything like that, but there just has to be a feel with how you operate on a day to day basis, in the game, that just has to feel better. It’s hard to define what that is, but I didn’t feel it today.”

On Kerr Kriisa being motivated after dealing with an illness: “I thought Kerr played fine, I thought he played really well? He hit some big shots. (Assistant coach Jack Murphy) mentioned to me, he watched him really closely defensively and thought he did a good job trying to make a lot of smart decisions on defense. So Kerr wasn’t an issue tonight.”

On if a game like this will make him toss and turn at night: “Nope. Sleep Number. Gotta get it. Unbelievable. Yeah, I sleep pretty good. I might not sleep long, but I’ll sleep pretty good usually.”

On getting upset with Pelle Larsson: “You just got to tone down the drama. Like trying to accentuate every foul. Just score the basket. I mean, he has the one, the bank bank he hits before he gets fouled and it looks like somebody shot him. He’s too good of a player to do that, and and so I just told him, you got a responsibility. When you get on that cut or that fast break, we need a basket. We don’t need a highlight, we need a basket. Just too often there’s just a little extra. And then you back that up and Cedric does something very similar, on a 1-on-3 fastbreak. We don’t get either foul call, we get nothing. So we need results. And that’s my message to them. I love those guys. I tell them I love them all the time, okay, but I want them to be great basketball players, and it’s my job to tell them the hard things. I’m probably not always right, but generally I think I have their best interests in mind.”

On what needs to improve: “I’m not going to get into every detail. We got to make some adjustments in how we play, individually and as a team. And in order to get better over the course of a season, individuals need to buy into those adjustments. I thought last year we had some guys that did an incredible job of that, of week to week taking the things that we were telling them and growing and growing and growing, and then making them their habits. And that’s what I’m looking for.”

On if it’s hard to get the message across after a 21-point win: “They know. And then listen, I don’t like yell at them all the time or berate them about it. There just has to be a general feel within a program of how you’re playing, and the players know when it feels right and doesn’t feel right. And we got to fight to make it feel right. So that’s what I’m fighting for. And they know I have high standards, they know that we’re relentless on that stuff. And then I talk to them individually about it, like what I’m looking for, why I’m feeling why I’m feeling, and then and then hopefully we come out and they get better from it. We have conversations.”

On the bench: “I want to play that bench more, and it’s my fault. But again, Montana State’s a really good team. When you put your bench in, you don’t want to be at a disadvantage. And I felt at times tonight like, man, if I sub too much we might be a little bit of a disadvantage. I mean, that’s a credit to Montana State.”

On Kylan Boswell: “Kylan’s playing good. He’s not perfect, by any stretch. He’s young. He’s making some young mistakes, that I can think of a couple right off the top of my head. But I don’t expect him to be perfect, but I expect him to learn from these mistakes and then the next time, make fewer mistakes.”

On if these kind of pre-Christmas games were a problem for Gonzaga: “I’m not great at reminiscing. I think there’s a lot of canned excuses we could use to make ourselves feel better. For some reason they don’t work with me. I just want us to have a better feel and play better basketball.”

On flop technicals becoming prevalent: “They’re called. It’s part of the rule package now, so if you go down and the ref—in his judgement it’s a flop—they call it. It don’t matter if I agree with it or not, it is what it is. But the other thing I’m not happy about is non-flopping technical fouls. So, we got to tighten that up. This isn’t the NBA, where you get a technical every game or every other game. It’s not how it is. It’s not great team basketball. He’s got to fix, he’s got to knock it off.”

On if he might soon get a technical: “I hope not. Why would I want to get a technical foul when ... I can’t score a basket, so why should I be costing us points? I probably have cost us enough points with the coaching decisions I’m making, so I don’t need to be like literally costing us points. The referees for the most part do a great job. They really do. I’m sure I will someday. Whether I deserve it or not, I don’t know. That’ll be another question. It’s not at the top of my agenda.”

On Adama Bal playing only 3 minutes: “His ankle’s been bothering him. It just looked like he was playing on one leg tonight, so I just didn’t feel good about putting him back in there.”

On Morgan State: “I haven’t watched one second of Morgan State. I couldn’t tell you one player on their roster. When I get home tonight, I’ll open my Computer and I’ll start doing my research and get ready for practice tomorrow.”

On why Arizona is playing so close to Christmas: “I was just told, hey, we can play Morgan State on December 22. We had trouble getting some games in November when we had a few gaps, so here we are playing on December 22. There’s no crazy rhyme or reason, it’s just how it worked out.”

Kriisa on how he feels: “I feel way better, yeah. I didn’t feel good. I think I wasn’t going to push, push my limits in that game. We had Tennessee coming up, and the goal was to myself going against Tennessee and now I’m good.I mean, I actually did feel really bad. I saw three rims at the time and it wasn’t a very good feeling.”

On if he felt he played well: “Yes, I mean shots went in. I’m here in press conference with you all, everybody thinks I’m a great player. If I missed I wouldn’t be here, everybody would think that I wouldn’t contribute, I’m a bad player. So it’s really nothing to say. That’s how it is.”

On what Lloyd said to him about getting another technical: “Yeah, no more Ts. That was on me, and I gotta do a better job on that, and I will do the best I can. It doesn’t really matter what I told the ref, I would say. It was at that moment, heat of a moment, I thought Pelle got fouled, that’s it.”

On Boswell: “Kylan is really coming along. He’s helping me out personally a lot, too, with my minutes and stuff, because sometimes they get out of hand. So I’m really thankful for Kylan and for showing up. He’s a really hard worker, in practices he’s always locked in. I wouldn’t only credit Kylan, I would say all of our young guys. It’s just Kylan is probably most ready to play out of all of them so far.”

On Montana’s defense affecting Arizona’s offense: “All games are different. We gotta give a lot of credit to Montana State. They took our connected passes, like you said, away. They showed us different coverages and stuff like that, they went under (screens) several times. I don’t know if we have really seen that in the past few years, where teams go under with the shooters that we usually have on the team. We just gotta take care of Thursday, and then can’t wait for the break, to be honest.”

Henderson on Arizona looking sluggish: “The biggest thing is, regardless of who we play, whether they’re Tennessee or Montana State, they’re still a good team. We can’t come out flat, and that’s what we did. And that’s what happened with Utah, and that’s why we lost it. It’s kind of like a trap game sometimes. You have the big name and then you turn around you play the team that you’re like, oh, this should be an easy one. But they’re all good teams. We play good, they’re good team. They’re good players.”

On Montana State taking away the inside game: “It was exactly what we worked on, too. They did take the high-low game away, but we still need to find a way to get the ball to our bigs. Because even if it goes in it still comes back out.”