It was an historic night for the Arizona Wildcats on Thursday, with Kerr Kriisa recording the program’s first triple-double in 18 years during their 97-77 win at Utah.
Our full recap can be found here. Below is what Krissa, Azuolas Tubelis and coach Tommy Lloyd had to say about the game.
Lloyd on Kriisa’s triple-double: “I’m happy for him. Obviously I had no idea that he was capable of getting a triple-double, but we’ll take it. And to do it on Estonian Independence Day is pretty cool.”
On how Kriisa was able to hit all those 3s: “Utah likes to really, I would say tag, and help in ball screen coverages from the other three defenders, not the guys involved in the ball screen. And I think our guys did a good job kind of finding him in some fill situations and maybe a couple throw aheads here and a transition one here and there. And they kind of add up. I honestly thought he had three or four 3s, I didn’t realize … then I guess he hits a half-courter, I mean, I don’t know if you really count that. But I’ll tell you what, on the half-courter, he shot it to make it. I mean, I could tell right when he put it in his hands, he shot that thing to make it, and that’s what you got to do.”
On being able to go on big scoring runs: “I if I had an answer I’d bottle it and sell it. I don’t know, I mean, I think we play with good force and good pace and we’re a good defensive team, and I think we can contest shots at the rim and you know. We try to get aggressive taking away threes when we can, and then that leads to transition basketball. That’s how those runs happen, it’s a fast break or two, and maybe a halfcourt three, things like that. So I just think it’s just a combination of how our defense complements our offense, and we’re pretty relentless.”
On Arizona going from up 8-0 to down a point with 6:44 left in the first half: “I’ve just told the guys I’ve been in hundreds of games like this, where you go on the road and you’re up 8-0 and the next thing you know you’re down 10 at the half. Things come easy early for whatever reason, you kind of let your guard down, and then they kind of ratchet it up after a timeout and the next thing you know, you’re in a ballgame. So I think our guys did a great job kind of absorbing their run and then being able to kind of get ourselves in position to make our big run toward the end of the half.”
Kriisa on making 7 3-pointers in the first half: “Teammates were finding me with good looks, so I had pretty, pretty good looks to shoot the ball. I made the first two 3s, so I got my confidence going. When you make two or three, then usually you can take the fourth one, too so. My teammates kept encouraging me. My teammates really helped me out with this one. So I’m really, really proud of them too.”
Tubelis on Kriisa: “We saw that it was basically his game. We found him and they couldn’t stop him.”
Kriisa on coming back in to get the triple-double: “I want to say right now, I never play for stats, but I think this was the first time. When I saw on the (scoreboard) that they showed the points, rebounds and assists, and when I saw that I was really close, then I think that was the first time when I actually thought that I’m going to go for it. Again I gotta give a little credit to my teammates. Pelle (Larsson) left me one (rebound) in the end but they didn’t count it, so I asked Tommy, Coach Lloyd, to put me put me back in and thankfully he did, so I’m really grateful to everybody.”