From Maui to the mountain top, the University of Arizona had a ski slop fall. And just like that the team/program most everyone enjoyed seeing last week wasn’t the same on Thursday night.
Not even close … just like many of their misses.
The excitement faded faster than a Tucson tan in December. Arizona’s 81-66 loss to Utah put Arizona’s early season in perspective: you’re never good as you think you are and, well, you’re never as bad.
UA saw both extremes in matter of eight days.
Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd said he wasn’t sure if UA suffered from a “Maui hangover or whatever” all he knew was “it wasn’t right.”
Arizona shot 35 percent from the floor and looked out of sorts, defensively and offensively. It happens. The quick swing of looking like world beaters one week and not so much the next was perplexing.
Lloyd added that he wasn’t sure if his team was “fat and happy” after last week. He told reporters in Salt Lake he wasn’t sure if they “were intoxicated” with all the platitudes either.
But “we have great dudes and we’re a high-character program so we’re going to bounce back from this for sure,” he said on his postgame radio show.
The Wildcats will have no choice with California coming into town on Sunday.
Arizona, after falling down by 20 points in the first half, made a couple of rallies to give UA some hope, but it couldn’t sustain any of the rally for long enough. It only turned the ball over once in the second half, after suffering 11 in the debacle of a first half. UA was down 42-25 at the half.
“All great teams have a really solid locked in approach and we didn’t come out (with that),” Lloyd said. “We weren’t the aggressor to start the game and we’re not a program that comes out and lets other team dictate the terms and today they did.”
And they played harder at home. Arizona was flatfooted and shot the ball horribly.
“Overall, our energy or enthusiasm, (weren’t) at an elite level and, and if you do that, you let the other team play harder than you and play a little smarter than you,” Lloyd said. “You’re gonna struggle. That’s what happened tonight.”
As for shooting poorly from beyond the 3-point line, Lloyd said, “you’d like to make a few more of them, but you’d also maybe take a few less of them. We are a team that can really dominate the paint. Our bigs did put up numbers, but I don’t think they were as efficient as they’ve been.”