So, what does Arizona get out of a game like that, facing an undersized small-school opponent trying just to survive?
Well, plenty. Not to shoot the ball 37 times from beyond the 3-point line and have 24 turnovers.
That’s the start, even if they won the game 94-65 over New Mexico Highlands in McKale Center.
“Listen, anything they give me, I’m gonna get something out of it,” Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd said. “So, if good things happen, I’m gonna get things out of it. If bad things happen, I’m gonna get things out of it. I’m a teacher. You know, that’s what a coach essentially is. I’m going to help our guys.”
He added there was a standard and effort his team must play at. There’s also a standard of intelligence and fundamentals.
“I don’t think we met those today,” Lloyd said.
Lloyd said they’ve practiced plenty on them but “I guess have to go back to the drawing board and emphasize it a little bit more.”
Maybe it was the fact that NMHU was never really in the game. And it had Arizona playing fast and loose with the ball and with its decision making. Arizona shot 37 3s, more than half its shots overall which was 70. UA went 34 for 70 from the floor. Lloyd said if he had a formula for shooting 3s, “that wouldn’t be it.”
When asked about how many 3s he’d like to see his team shoot in a game, he said, “obviously less than we did today. It’s also hard and a lot of those shots (were) wide open. They’re probably packing it in defensively and saying ‘hey, beat us from the 3-point line’ (but) we have guys that can make a lot of them so we just have got to find that fine balance.”
Arizona did have balance, however. Five players scored in double figures with Caleb Love leading the way with 19 points. Four others – Keshad Johnson, KJ Lewis, Paulius Murauskas and Filip Borovicanin – all had 10 points.
They also combined to have 12 of the team’s 24 turnovers.
“We pride ourselves that shares the ball and plays the right way,” Lloyd said. “I just thought, you know, I thought we actually played selfish in stretches and maybe a little bit careless … we shouldn’t be doing that.”
He called it a teaching tool so “I’m glad it happened (it might) get our guys attention a little bit.”
Arizona will have a week to get ready with Morgan State set to visit McKale Center for the season opener.
UA center Henri Veesaar will be out for a bit – maybe a few weeks – after suffering an injury in the last week. He was seen in a protective sling and limping. Lloyd would not go into details of the injury only to say it happened off the court. Initially, Lloyd said thye thought it could be bad but they “got the best case scenario so he’ll be back sooner than later.” Also, Pelle Larsson did not play but is expected to return sometime soon. “We’re figuring that out in the next couple of days.” Larsson is said to have an ankle injury.