What’s not to like about the Arizona Wildcats?
Although it’s still the early honeymoon period of the Tommy Lloyd era, it’s hard not to fall for the Wildcats.
Sunday’s stroll in Gill Coliseum showed what Arizona is all about:
Its defense created a chaos that has become the norm, turning the Beavers over 22 times that resulted in 27 points.
Its offensive aggressiveness creates a pounding opponents haven’t been able to keep up with.
Its depth came in and help the starters realize that they need to play like starters.
It continued to share the ball in a season of sharing is caring.
And its star – Ben Mathurin – played like one.
It’s a recipe for success and clearly was for Arizona in its 90-65 win over the Beavers.
“We hadn’t played many games in the last couple of weeks so maybe it took a little for us to get our rhythm,” UA head coach Tommy Lloyd said on his postgame radio show. “We got off to a slow start but I was proud of the guys in how they responded in the first half.”
Oregon State stayed close – or at least tried to – early as UA got out to a 13-point lead in the opening half before OSU closed to within eight.
But Lloyd & Co., made adjustments and started playing what looks like to be some occasional full-court pressure and more aggressive looks and UA started to pull away. It also helped the bench helped keep UA’s aggressiveness intact in the opening half.
“Our bench really saved us in that first half,” Lloyd said. “They were the ones that got us a little momentum. They came in and played with great effort. That’s what you have to do to be a great team. It’s going to be different guys on different nights and different lineups on different nights. Those guys are supper important to what we do.”
Arizona was led by sophomore Mathurin, who finished with 29 points (two short of his career high which was also against Oregon State in Corvallis). He played a flawless game, taking no mad shots and looking impressive on the ones he took.
“He had a look about him,” Lloyd said. “Sometimes guys get a certain feel in a certain arena obviously this is a good spot for him.”
Lloyd, at some point before the game, told Mathurin that even though he played well in Corvallis the last time doesn’t mean it will happen again.
He told him, “you got to go out and make it happen,” Lloyd told him. “When I saw him on the offensive glass, I thought that was a good sign.”
Maybe it’s just the atmosphere.
“I’m from Canada and Corvallis is pretty much the same as Canada,” Mathurin told reporters in Corvallis. “I’ll just say it’s the weather.”
Arizona moves to 7-0 and 1-0 in the Pac-12 Conference.
“Anytime you come on the road and you win by this much – I don’t care if it’s against the No. 1 team in the country or a team at the bottom of the conference – it’s quite an accomplishment,” Lloyd said.