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What Tommy Lloyd and Courtney Ramey said after Arizona’s loss to ASU

tommy-lloyd-courtney-ramey-and-cedric-henderson-comments-arizona-loss-asu Zachary BonDurant-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Wildcats fell to ASU 89-88 on a Sun Devils half-court buzzer beater Saturday afternoon at McKale Center. Our recap of the game can be found here.

After the game, coach Tommy Lloyd and senior guard Courtney Ramey spoke to the media. Here’s what they said:

Lloyd on his overall takeaway from the game: “I’ll tell you what that was a heck of a game. A tremendous college basketball game. We’re not hanging our heads at all. Obviously we’d like to win. Listen, if you’re playing a tough game and they have to hit a 60-footer to beat you, you’re probably taking that on most days. All in all, I thought there was a lot of great moments and obviously, I wish we would have played maybe better defensively earlier in the game. It happened, and I thought we had a lot of clutch plays on offense and defense down the stretch that we’ll learn from. I’m ready. I’m already moved on and looking forward to practice on Monday.”

On Arizona’s free throw shooting and decision for Ballo to make or miss last free throw: “23 of 34, what’s the percentage? 67 (percent). Yeah, you’d like to make one or two more. It probably makes a difference. And at the end, you probably could argue that we should have had maybe Oumar miss that last free throw. That’s stuff I’ll wear. That’s on me. Not on the guys on those decisions. I just didn’t want to put more on Oumar’s plate. I know Oumar’s shooting pretty well. I thought there was maybe a 50 percent chance he makes it or a 50% chance he misses it. It went in and they were able to inbound the ball and kid got a dribble and he shot it right in front of me and right when it left his hand I thought it had a chance. It was dead on line. It’s a special moment for that kid and their team.”

On Arizona’s defensive design on the buzzer beater: “It happened fast. Obviously if we had to do it again we’d do it differently. Maybe on a made free throw we would have somebody on the ball. I’m learning things. From a player’s perspective, they shoot half courters all the time. They know how hard they are to make. The last thing the player wants to do is foul in that situation. So it kind of puts them in a tough spot.”

On whether the change to the starting lineup affected the team’s flow: “No, not really. I think that’s fine. That’s stuff you do to create good karma in your program. Those two guys have done an amazing job. I was going back and forth on it. When I went to bed last night, I wasn’t going to do it and when I woke up this morning, I knew I just felt like it was the right thing to do. Listen, it was going to be until the first deal ball basically depending on how it goes. I think they made a couple of threes and a two during that stretch. But we gave up threes and twos all day, no matter who was out there.”

On some coaches philosophy to not start walk-ons for an important game: “Yeah, some coaches say that. I trust those two players. Jordan Mains was fine out there, and Matt (Lang) was fine, too. I think you have to have a bigger perspective than that. It’s about treating people right. It’s about honoring people that make a ton of sacrifices and contribute to your program. So for me, there’s no regrets. It’s a decision I would make again.”

On Arizona’s play over the game’s final minutes: “That’s winning time. We had a few unfortunate turnovers and maybe a couple of bad shots. Maybe a couple of guys, you’re playing in front of your home crowd and want to deliver a knockout punch and maybe you make a bad decision on the shot. I want our guys to have freedom to kind of pick and choose when they shoot. We also had just a couple turnovers that you can’t afford at that time of the game, because you have to understand, the other team’s desperate, they’re going to be reaching, they’re going to be poking, not every foul is going to get called by the officials. You can’t assume that maybe some of the normal rhythm passes you have are going to be there. As a player you got to have an understanding of that. So we’ll do a better job coaching them and trying to be better in that segment of the game next time and generally we’ve been great in this. It’s just one of those days.”

On whether it was difficult to tell Ballo to miss the second free throw intentionally: “I felt like it was. Oumar, obviously he’s not the greatest free shooter in the world, although he’s getting better. What I didn’t want to do, I didn’t want to put him in a position where I tell him to miss and he shoots an airball three feet short and then now they get to inbound the ball. Then maybe we could set our defense and you could argue all these things of that nature. I just wanted to play out because what are the chances of a team making a shot like that? Very slim. Very slim. When a game is close there’s always chance you can lose but you’re kind of playing the odds a little bit. Maybe we could have slightly put the odds a little bit more in our favor, but we were sitting on pocket aces. That happens sometimes.”

On ASU’s success offensively: “Their guys made a lot of shots. They were aggressive. I’ll have to come back and see how well we did contesting the shots. They got in a little bit of a rhythm offensively and they made some tough shots. They’re talented players. They’ve maybe been a little inconsistent overall, but when they’ve been right, they’ve been right. Obviously we felt like today they were going to be right. I’m not surprised by how they played. I just wish we were going to play a little bit better but I’m giving them credit.”

On putting Ballo back in after his hard fall: “Until he told me he was ready to go, I wasn’t going to put him in. He was ready to go. We just felt like we needed a four guard lineup with him anchoring the five defensively. We got the stop. We got the stop and the rebound we needed. I thought that last possession we probably played really good defense. They didn’t get a great shot. They missed, we got the rebound. Unfortunately the celebration started a little bit early because there’s still a little bit of time left.”

On Azuolas Tubelis’ performance: “I thought Zu was okay. I thought defensively he was back. He just didn’t play great defense tonight. That’s disappointing. I don’t care about overall stats. I’m gonna be honest, I never even looked at the overall stats. I couldn’t tell you what his shooting percentage is, how many points he’s scoring. But I know effort on defense, and he’s got to play better.”

On whether Tubelis was afraid of drawing early fouls like he has the last couple games: “That’s not an excuse. It’s high level basketball, suck it up.”

On Arizona’s defense against ASU: “They’re probably not driven much by analytics. They’re driven by players that can create their own shot. They have some special plays for the good shooters. didn’t do a great job with the scouting report, which we had for special scouting. But guys made individual mistakes out there defensively, which you can’t have on good players. If you make that mistake, it’s going to lead to a shot.”

On Henderson’s outing: “I thought Ced was great. He got off to a good start. Ced’s a really good player, and I think he’s really grown over the course of this season, with us at least. He came in as a good player, but I think he’s getting more and more comfortable playing with us. I was happy we had that kind of night and that he came out with that kind of confidence.”

On Arizona’s turnovers: “Don’t turn the ball over. It just comes down to that. We give our guys a lot of freedom, but with that freedom comes responsibility, Maybe I could have scripted some things a little bit better. Also we probably could have been a little more solid with the ball and not just giving it to the other team when we knew we had a team that was aggressive and was going to take chances.”

On how Arizona moves on from the loss: ”I’ve already moved on. They better have moved on, too. This game, literally, whatever. Maybe it impacts things a little bit here and there, but not enough to matter. So let’s get better. This team, we’ve been playing pretty well. Tonight it was just a crazy game, a rival game against a talented team. Like I said, I don’t know what the odds are on that shot going in, but I think we’re probably like 98 times out of 100, we’re probably here talking about a different thing, here, but it was just one of those 2 or 3 percent chances. Good for the kid. That’s a heck of a shot.”

Ramey on Arizona’s free throw shooting: “When you play basketball the ball goes in sometimes and the ball goes out. You can’t control the makes and misses. That’s the game of basketball. Sometimes you go 90 percent, sometimes you go 50. That’s why you play basketball. It’s not going to be your night every night when you shoot the ball. Credit to ASU. He made a big shot from half court.

On Arizona’s defense on the last play: “They hit a big time shot. One step before half court, he shot that shot 10 times I don't think he would get that result. He’s a good player, we gave him a chance to make that shot.”

On Arizona’s defensive focus: “It was just throughout the whole game. We had a 10-point lead with seven minutes left in the game and we didn’t handle business. But they did a good job playing back. And like I said, he made a big time shot to give his team the win.”

On Arizona’s mentality that they have to win every game now: “We had that mentality a long part of this season. It’s tough to lose the last game at home. Me and Cedric and all the seniors, it meant a lot for us. But it ain’t the end of the season. We got two more games to play against two good teams, and we got the Pac-12 Tournament. We’re going to get ready for March, and I think we’re going to be a whole new team now after today’s game. We’re gonna buckle up and get better.”