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What Tommy Lloyd, Pelle Larsson and Kylan Boswell said after Arizona’s win over Washington

arizona-wildcats-basketball-washington-huskies-postgame-tommy-lloyd-pelle-larsson-kylan-boswell Zachary BonDurant-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona came oh so close to losing at home on Thursday night, rallying from down 14 to beat Washington 70-67 for its eighth straight win overall and 28th consecutive at McKale Center.

Our full recap can be found here. Below is what Tommy Lloyd, Pelle Larsson and Kylan Boswell had to say after the victory:

Lloyd on the win: “Great effort by our guys. Washington played really well. We obviously didn’t play as well as we would have liked, but Washington gets a lot credit for that. I was really proud of our guys for having hung with it. I knew all along this team has some grit and we’re gonna get tested. I mean, it’s just, there’s no other way of putting it. We withstood some rallies today, go down 14 in the first half and hang with it and actually take the lead before halftime.”

On falling behind again in the second half: “The start of the second half wasn’t, it wasn’t what we drew up, but it’s what happened and our guys hung in there. To be down (seven), come back, get close, tie it and then go up and make a little run and get up six or eight points. We hung in there.”

On why he called a timeout early in the second half: “Nothing crazy. I don’t have a crazy strategy on these timeouts like everybody’s trying to make it up. I just had a feel that our guys were a little bit sluggish, and didn’t come the start of the half like we hoped. We were playing so well at the end of the (first) half and we wanted to come out with that same energy and we didn’t, so I just wanted to give them a reminder. I don’t know if it worked or not.”

On Arizona’s defense the last 2 games: “I think our defense is good. We’re winning games play defense, and that’s what you have to do. Transition defense wasn’t great early, we gave up a couple of threes, they kind of ran it at us a little bit and took shots that you’re probably like, if they’re gonna take that off one pass, we might live with it. But when you give them four or five of those in the first half and they start feeling comfortable, you gotta get better at your transition defense. But I think our guys really dug in and our ball pressure picked up. We had good focus and good energy out there, and I thought the second half I thought they had to hit some really tough shots. I think we’re good defensively. I think we got a great defensive makeup that’s gonna continue to get better and better and better over the course of this season.”

On Kylan Boswell: “I don’t know if it’s been well documented or not, but I told him all along, I’m not evaluating you as a player until January 1st. You have to January 1 to be ready. And I wanted to give him a long porch, so to speak, so he can kinda see where he was at and feel some success, feel some struggles. But he’s a really good ballplayer and he’s a great shooter, and to see him come out make some shots today was big, big for him and was big for us. He’s really grown on the defensive end and. He’s been practicing like that every day, so I’m looking forward to him being a solid contributor down the stretch.”

On if he thought this is what Boswell would look like after Jan. 1: “Nostrathomas. I wish I could say that, but no. That kid gets all the credit. He’s tough as nails. He’s hung in there. He’s got swag. And you know what, you know how hard it is to be 17 years old, should be playing in high school. But he’s here with us, and come out and not have it go your way. Sit out for four months. Get your pocket picked in front of the country on national TV against San Diego State, and to hang in there and then come out and do this? Dude is special. And I think you guys are gonna see that more from him.”

On Boswell making his last 3 after missing a few: “You have to against them. I mean, you can’t script where you’re gonna get your shots against Washington. They make adjustments, too. I thought they were doing a really good job taking Kerr away for the most part, and then we were having a little bit of a struggle getting the ball inside or to the high post. They were doing a good job covering it, maybe we were a little tentative passing. So Kylan had to step up and be opportunistic. I felt really good on that last right-corner three, I felt like yeah, that’s a great shot, and I feel good about him shooting it, and let’s go.”

On going with Boswell late over Courtney Ramey: “That was just how the game played out. I mean, obviously, normally, we’d probably play Courtney but Courtney wasn’t playing a great game. Courtney is a great guy, and one of the things we’ve been talking about as a team all week is it’s really important to celebrate your teammates’ successes. When you’re playing these long seasons, there’s ups and downs. One of the most important things to being a great teammate and having a great culture is you enjoy your teammates’ successes. And I know, I know, no one’s more happy for Kylan than Courtney Ramey today, because that’s the kind of guy Courtney is. And that creates great karma, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Courtney came out Saturday and played his ass off.”

On Oumar Ballo playing a career-high 35 minutes: “Oumar deserves much credit. I think he played maybe more more minutes than he has all year, and that wasn’t the plan. Coming back after the ASU game, Oumar got really sick, and actually had to go to the hospital. I’m not going to get into specifics, but he didn’t practice. He was out Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and then did just kind of half the stuff on Wednesday in practice. So for him to come out and give it up for his teammates says something about his character and him as a man. I’m really proud that he’s on our side. Without him today, we don’t get this thing.”

On struggling against the zone: “That zone has been really effective for a lot of years for a lot of reasons. I played against it a bunch of times. I’ve had days where we’ve had unbelievable success, and maybe it looks like you could write a manual on how to attack it. I’ve had days where we couldn’t do anything, like today. I mean, that’s how it goes. That other coach on the other side, he’s a hell of a coach. He came in and he had his guys ready and they had a heck of a plan, and we struggled and we’ll have to grow from it.”

On Azuolas Tubelis’ defense: b”He’s really become a good defender, and that wouldn’t be something you’d have said a year or two ago. You have to win all ways, and you have to play both ends of the floor. In our system, it’s really important that you’re a two-way player, and Zu is doing that. Against that zone, you catch that shot and are shooting little floaters and little push shots that you don’t shoot very often. And you got a 7-foot guy, that can put his head on the rim, behind. A goalie, so it makes it tough. That zone has been doing that to people for a lot of years. So I’m really proud of our guys. They went on the road and they beat really good teams playing that zone, and we were able to withstand that today. So that says something about our team.”

On Henri Veesaar struggling early: “They’re really handsy, and they’re great at attacking balls. And listen, you’re playing where the defenders are at angles you’re not comfortable with. You just don’t get it very often. He’s been playing really well, but he had a new experience today and he wasn’t great against it early. He came back, his second run in the first half he was much better. And in the second half, I thought he was okay. But you know what? I mean, we had big O sitting there on the bench, he told me he was ready to go to bring it home, and we put him back in there. We made a run and I was rolling with that lineup.”

On Larsson’s defense: “Pelle is a great defender, and he’s really coming up. I mean, I can see his confidence and feel his confidence grow. I wish he would have let a few more threes rip today, but he also had some great drives at the end when we didn’t have much going. He found Oumar for a dump down, or two, and goto the free throw line. Pelle is a heck of a player, and we need him to be great.”

On if he expects more close games in conference play: “I mean, it looks like it. Traditionally, if you went back and looked at the start of conference season after the new year, I think there’s a lot of, quote unquote surprises. Maybe teams that have played a lot of home games are going on the road the first time, or teams that didn’t have a good preseason, after Christmas come back and get a fresh start. And so you kind of got to start over. In conference play, you start 0-0 and you got to win it game by game. I think you’re gonna see a lot of tough hard fought games, and those are the type we plan on playing in. We’re not delusional, I’m not thinking we’re gonna be running people by 20, 30 points every game. That’s not how it works.”

On the McKale crowd: “The fans were great tonight. We need them to be full participants. I want Arizona basketball fans to come and be part of the experience. I don’t want them to come sit on their hands. If they want to sit on their hands, you know what? I mean, that’s their choice because they bought the ticket. But they can also watch at home and give it to a friend who’s going to come and let it rip. And I thought tonight we had great fans and I thought they made it an incredible environment for a (Thursday) night in early January, 9pm game.”

Larsson on Arizona’s offensive struggles: “We got good looks, I think, even when they went on their run in the second half, but they just didn’t go in. Eventually they started going in and combined that with some stops.”

On rallying to win: “We’re just trying to protect the home court, so we take a lot of pride in that.”

On Boswell: “His ball pressure has been really good the whole season and preseason. Keeping his hands active. I think that’s one of the biggest part of defense is grabbing the ball at the end of the day.”

On his defense: “I think I can help a lot, especially if I’m guarding the guy that they’re going to. On-ball defense is what a lot of our guys take pride in. Every time you have a chance try to make a play and try to go one for one every time.”

Boswell on making 3 3-pointers: “This is why you put the work in to take those shots when the time comes.”

On the crowd: “Having like a great support from the fanbase makes you feel at ease sometimes. It definitely boosted my confidence.”

On how he’s improved: “My main focus basically has been putting in work, basically anytime I can. I’ve been getting my shots up, and I just trust myself. I felt like all those misses were good misses. And I was open again.”

On Arizona’s defense: “This has been our main focus for the past like month now. We’re taking we’re taking pride in defense as a team.”

On still being 17 and recovering from a foot injury: “Definitely a crazy roller coaster. Right now I feel really proud of myself. I’ve definitely kind of adjusted.”