Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd wasn’t too happy after Arizona’s 85-64 win over Montana State on Tuesday night. He wasn’t too mad, either. Well, he was more upset than happy.
Actually, the “pay-check-to-paycheck” coach as he likes to describe himself was a bit perturbed by what he saw on Tuesday as UA extended his homecourt winning streak to 26 consecutive games. Yes, even when his team wins by 21 you can be upset on a number of levels. And, well, he was.
“We got to get better,” Lloyd said. “That’s been my message to the guys. A few wins in November and December doesn’t mean you’re a great team …
There’s no givens in this deal. We got to make sure that we’re on it.”
Arizona at times and wasn’t in others. And, well, Lloyd didn’t like it when they weren’t. His mood – usually upbeat and casual – wasn’t like that Tuesday. It was sterner and to the point.
He wants this team to be great. He sees its potential. Tuesday it didn’t show it consistently. Maybe it was a hangover from Saturday’s win over Tennessee. Then again, maybe it wasn’t.
“When you sit in my seat you try to drive a culture or standards,” Lloyd said. “We’ve got to meet those standards no matter who we’re playing. Come on, these college guys play 35, 40 games if they’re lucky. You got to be excited to play. I’m not saying we did and I’m not saying we didn’t play (the best) but I don’t know if we played hard enough.
“I just I just feel like our team at times can be a little disconnected and I don’t like that feeling. It doesn’t sit well with me. And it doesn’t mean I’m mad at the guys or anything like that. But there just has to be a feel of how you operate on a day-to-day basis. It just has to feel better. It’s hard to define what that is, but I didn’t feel it.”
He wants those standards to be hit more often.
Lloyd was particularly upset with Pelle Larsson, who seemed to overreact on a play where he thought he was fouled. Lloyd got mad and it was apparent on the television.
“Pelle is a heck of a ball player (but) he just needs to tone down the drama,” Lloyd said. “… like trying to accentuate every foul. Just score the basket. There’s one where he hits the bank, and he gets fouled, and he looks like someone shot him. He’s too good of a player to do that.”
Lloyd said he told they just need baskets. He said Cedric Henderson did something similar and neither time a foul was called. So, they got nothing.
“We need results.” Lloyd said.
Still, Lloyd said he tells them “I love them all the time. But I want them to be great basketball players and it’s my job to tell them the hard things. I’m probably not always right. But generally, I have their best interest in mind.”
It’s about getting better. From big things to the little things. One was reactions to calls. Early in the second half Kerr Kriisa reacted to what he thought was a non-call on a possible foul on Larsson, but it wasn’t called. He got a technical after saying something.
“He’s got to fix that,” Lloyd said. “He’s got to knock it off.”
The message fell loud and clear after Lloyd’s message.
“No more Ts, none at all,” Kerr said. “Yeah, that was on me, I gotta do a better job on that and do the best I can.”
Much like the game. Kerr played well (or so it seemed) by scoring a team-high 18 points. He hit six of nine 3-pointers. Yet, when asked about his night on the offensive end, he hemmed and hawed a bit before saying, “Listen, …. I’m not gonna say it’s better to keep it (to himself),” but yes shots went in and I’m here in (the) press conference,” he said. “Everybody thinks I’m a great player. If I missed, I wouldn’t be here. Everybody would think that I wouldn’t contribute, and they’d say I’m a bad player. That’s how it is.”