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What Tommy Lloyd, Kylan Boswell and Filip Borvicanin said after Arizona’s win over Oregon State

arizona-wildcats-tommy-lloyd-osu-beavers-postgame-kylan-boswell-filip-borvicanin-pac12-2023 Zachary BonDurant-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday night’s game against Oregon State was never in doubt for Arizona, which won by 32 and could have made the margin much bigger had it not pulled its starters early in the second half and let many little-used reserves get a lot of action.

Though that wasn’t coach Tommy Lloyd’s specific game plan, he was happy things worked out that way.

“You’d love to sit there and think you can have puppet strings on this whole thing and manipulate how you want all the time, but that’s just now how it goes,” he said. “I want to play (the bench) all the time, but it’s just not how it goes.”

Our full recap can be found here. Below is what Lloyd and freshmen Kylan Boswell and Filip Borvicanin said afterward:

On if he was worried his team might overlook Oregon State: “Oregon State was on the schedule today, they had our full attention, and I thought our guys came out and played well. It was nice to play well. I didn’t think maybe overall our energy in all stretches was great tonight, but sometimes that happens. But to do that and to put together an effort like that and be able to play a lot of guys, it was encouraging.”

On the bench: “I think for our young guys overall, as a group, I think it’s kind of the best they’ve performed, if you look across the board at all four or five young guys, so I’m happy with that. They don’t get a lot of opportunities, and it’s hard for them. They want to be contributing players and great basketball players, too, but sometimes the head coach has to make some tough decisions and some guys don’t get many opportunities. For them to play well shows me that they’re handling it okay, and they’re hungry, and that’s what I want.”

On Adama Bal: “Adama is a good player, I’ve always thought that and said that. I thought he had a lot of opportunities early in the year and it was a little bit of a mixed bag of results. The encouraging thing for me, and what I said to Adama, was his first play today was an effort play, he got an offensive rebound. And then he hit three after that, and I think that’s what he has to understand, he has to put more emphasis on doing all the other things, and then the shooting and the offensive stuff will come in the the flow of the game when he gets his opportunities.”

On what Arizona’s 6-game win streak means for the team: “It’s the time of the season where you want to really start growing your team. I’ve been pretty mindful that with our guys and we want to climb. We want to get better. And so we’ve really been kind of emphasizing that in practice, I have been on the guys. I know what all the human nature obstacles can be in these situations, in long seasons. And it happens for coaches, too, you might get tired of coaching certain players, and players might get tired of hearing the coach’s voice, but I said let’s not do that. I won’t get tired of coaching you guys if you don’t get tired to be coaching you. Let’s stay locked in this together, and I think our guys have done a good job responding and have played really well.”

On if the win streak is directly tied to the starting lineup change: “I’m not that smart. I made the lineup change when I thought I had to shake it up a little bit, and maybe strengthen our bench a little bit was my main emphasis. I’m really proud of Cedric (Henderson Jr.) for how he’s responded. I think he’s playing with great effort and energy. His numbers might not be crazy on a nightly basis, but he’s really become like the kind of Energizer Bunny for us. And that’s been cool to watch. I think Pelle (Larsson) is playing with a lot, as much confidence as he has all year, so it seems to be working. Obviously we’ll stick with it.”

On if he may go deeper than 7 players more often the rest of the way: “We’ll see. We’ll see what the game dictates, what our energy is. We’ll see what the foul situation is. See how the game plays out. I let the game play out in front of me and try to make decisions accordingly.”

On the improved defense: “Obviously, we’ve been trying to coach it all year. I think we have found ourselves on a good group defensively. And I think we got an ability to be a really good defensive team. We have size to protect the rim, we have some versatility so we could throw different coverages at teams. We have some really good individual defenders, and you just got to put it together and you got to make it mean something, and I think the guys are doing that right now.”

On Azuolas Tubelis: “The most quiet 19 I’ve ever seen. He is playing like a vet. He understands where his opportunities are on the court, and he’s having an All-American type season. I’ve coached those guys, and he’s at that level. He probably isn’t getting that due he deserves. This guy’s a first team, All-American, and you have to convince me otherwise.”

On why Tubelis isn’t getting more national attention: “Part of it is, there’s narratives created early in the year. And there’s other really good players, and sometimes those guys get the benefit of the doubt of being out in ... the minds of people. So maybe they have a good game here and there, and that didn’t reminds everybody, oh yeah, they’re really good. Where Zu has been as consistent as any big guy in the country. Zack Edey, I don’t know, maybe, but any other big of the country he’s been as consistent as those guys on a nightly basis. And it’s obvious his team’s performing at a high level. You’d have to convince me that he’s not a first team All-American.”

On if he thought Tubelis was capable of that when he was hired at Arizona: “I was hopeful. I’m never gonna put limitations on a player. And so just to watch his growth as a person and a player, and kind of him flourish in this system, has been really cool.”

On pulling Tubelis and other starters so early in the second half because he was worried about fatigue from the 7-man rotation: “I wanted to play other guys. I’m sure Zu could have played 10 more minutes, he’s in great shape. We had a big lead, I had younger guys I needed to play. Zu and Kerr (Kriisa) came up to me at halftime and told me they were fine not playing anymore. They wanted their teammates to play, they’re great teammates.”

On remaining focused: “We’re locked in. We gotta go to the Bay Area next week, at Cal, at Stanford. You don’t ever take anything for granted on the road. And Stanford seems to be playing extremely well right now. So, we’re going in guns loaded.”

Boswell on Borvicanin playing in the first half: “The minute I saw Filip come to the (scorer’s table) it made my night. It’s really nice to see other guys get to play. That really made me happy.”

On Tubelis: “He’s just a freak. I really don’t understand how he does what he does, but it’s very fun to watch. Very fun to play with him. He’s definitely made me better, with just reading the game, reading him. It’s definitely fun to watch.”

On his 3-pointer to end the 1st half: “When I caught it and I put it up I knew it was going in.”

On the defensive intensity: “I think we’re just taking it as more of a pride thing. Defense wasn’t our main thing at the beginning of the year, but now Coach has just been preaching it.”

On if he thinks Arizona’s 7-man rotation is the right move the rest of the way: “We’re winning games. I feel like Coach knows what he’s doing.”

Borvicanin on not getting to play much before tonight: “I would say it was hard. It was hard for me, of course, to deal with that. But I tried to do my best in practices and coach gave me an opportunity tonight and I tried to give my best.”

On getting put in the game without much warning: “It’s not really hard. I’m really excited to get in and hit some shots, like tonight I banked a shot in.”

On if he was prepared for such a limited role this season: “I knew that, when I came here it was going to be hard. This is one of the best programs in the whole country.”