Arizona Basketball

UA good enough for a Final Four? UTA Coach Turner says ‘this team is really good’

Texas Arlington basketball coach KT Turner has been at a few top places in his coaching career, so he knows a good team and program.

He sees Arizona being one of the better ones.

“This team is really good,” Turner said Sunday afternoon after seeing his team fall 101-56 to No. 3 Arizona in McKale Center. “I see them playing in the Final Four, playing in the championship game. They have bigs, they have guards. The bigs they have … you don’t see that around the country.”

That’s high praise from a coach – in first year at UTA – who has been an assistant at Oklahoma and most recently at Kentucky.

“I’ve seen a lot of good teams so it wouldn’t surprise me,” he reiterated.

Motiejus Krivas gets one of his two blocks. (Photo Courtesy Arizona Athletics)

Time will tell, but Arizona sure looked good against UTA in the second half, outscoring the Mavericks 58-19. That’s no typo. It’s 19. UTA shot just 25 percent from the floor in the second half — and suffered through a 20-0 Arizona run that combined the end of the first half and the beginning of the second half.

“We knew at halftime … we told him that Tommy would be going off (on them) and he’d have them ready to play and we’d have to come out and play with intensity and they came out with more.”

Lloyd said, “nothing crazy” was said to his team but did admit his team’s “standard probably wasn’t met in the first half” and to give Texas Arlington some credit for that.

“Our guys probably get a little blame, and our coaches are involved, too,” Lloyd said.

Lloyd said – that after Arizona struggled to shake the Mavericks in the first half with a slim lead (43-37) – it found its way … eventually.

“Success and winning doesn’t come easy,” Lloyd said. “It always has to be based with effort … intelligence and passion and unselfishness. And now you got something but if you don’t put all those things together, you’re going to you’re going to come up a little bit short, so I was kind of happy how we responded.”

Once again, it was the power of team. Seven players scored in double figures with Kylan Boswell and Oumar Ballo each having 15 points. Pelle Larsson and Jaden Bradley each had 13 points. Keshad Johnson added 11 points and Caleb Love and Motiejus Krivas each had 10.

Points, points, points … from all over.

Ballo said this team “by far” is the most balanced team in the last three years.

“We have guys at every position,” he said, “that can come in and help us out.”

Ballo said any of the top eight players could be starters – Lloyd agreed and said he’s comfortable with that – and that that depth helps wear teams out.

“Unfortunately, five can start,” he said.

Lloyd did say this team – his third here – is the most balanced. Remember that Ben Mathurin was the clear scorer and leader, with others. And last year, Azuolas Tubelis was the clear scoring leader, and the team didn’t go that deep.

“Depth gives us the most balance, for sure,” Lloyd said.

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