Arizona Basketball

Arizona sweeps the Bay area … now on to the main course – UCLA

 Arizona feasted on a couple of appetizers the last two games in the Bay area. Now on to the main course: UCLA.

Stanford … check.

California … check, after Arizona feasted on a dose of low Cal on Sunday afternoon in a 96-71 victory in Berkeley, California.

It didn’t even seem that close.

The question was never really if Arizona would win but by how much?

Arizona celebrate Shane Nowell’s play in the second half, team win. (Photo courtesy Arizona Athletics)

Arizona had better athletes and it was apparent from the start as Arizona raced out to a nice lead (10-2) and extended it to the upper 20s before it settled for the 25-point win.

Arizona was led by Christian Koloko who had 19 points and 13 rebounds. He was one of five players in double figures.

Oumar Ballo and Ben Mathurin each had 14 points, with Mathurin adding eight rebounds. Kerr Kriisa added 13 points.

It’s the second consecutive time five players have found double-digit scoring in the box score.

“They are all team wins,” Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd said on his postgame radio show. “I’d put that in the category of rock-solid effort. Those are special when you can have multiple guys contribute. You can attack both ends of the floor multiple ways.

“I think our confidence is growing and I think we’re slowly finding that game rhythm back. I’m truly happy for the guys.”

Once again, it was Arizona’s big men – Koloko and Ballo – who were too much for their opposition even with Azuolas Tubelis sitting in sweats on the bench. He’s still recovering from the leg injury he suffered on Thursday. It’s not clear if he’ll be available for Tuesday showdown with UCLA.

Lloyd said he does feel when Tubelis does come back – whenever that is – his team “will be better for it” give others have learned to step up.

And they have just in the last two games.

Arizona used strength, speed and, um, everything to move to 16-1 overall and 6-0 in the Pac-12 Conference.

Lloyd mixed and matched his versatile lineup going big at times and then going small with what he called his “death lineup the super small lineup.”

Those are just two reasons why Arizona is so troublesome to opponents. Lt can beat you in many ways.

“We’re trying to be creative,” Lloyd said. “I love having options with lineups that can play a little bit different styles. You don’t have to totally rearrange the furniture with how you’re playing, but … I love it. Oumar is really coming on but what makes it work is C-Lo (Koloko) is so good defensively you can really move him out in the perimeter, and you might get better (as a team).

“He’s so good around the rim and you don’t want to take him away from there, but you want Oumar to play. And those two together are great.”

Not lost in the win was Arizona only have eight turnovers on the day. It’s the fewest since it had six in a victory over Northern Arizona in game two.

“That’s something we’ve been talking about,” Lloyd said. “I kept on them throughout the game. This team has a charisma about it. And a real spirit and energy. Highlights are going to happen we don’t have to hunt them down. Slowly we are finding that balance of playing an exciting brand of basketball but having a hint of conservatism.”

Be sure to listen to Steve and Jay Gonzales on their radio show weekdays from 3-5 p.m. on Fox Sports 1450’s Eye on the Ball.

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