Tis the season, right?
Tommy Lloyd & Co., was back at it giving – or putting it to – the California Bears on Friday night.
Assists, spectacular dunks, fastbreak points … give, give, give.
Arizona treated California like a regift – it wanted no part of it – in the 100-81 win in Berkeley, California. Arizona has now won 14 consecutive times vs. the Bears, including seven in away from home.
Arizona started early – and gave often.
“We know Cal is a team, they always get up big in the first 4-10 minutes,” Oumar Ballo told reporters in California. “We had to come out and try to outscore them and make some steps to make them uncomfortable.”
Arizona did, playing like a team that was coming off a loss that should not have happened. Well, that’s exactly what happened six days prior as UA lost to Florida Atlantic. Arizona is now 13-0 after a loss under Lloyd.
Arizona jumped out to a 26-5 first-half lead, helped by a 20-2 run to start the game. It was over, just minutes after it started.
“It was a great response by our guys,” said Lloyd on his postgame radio show.
Especially after watching his team play upon its return on Tuesday after a three-day rest, one that he said was needed.
He said, “it made me want to rethink coaching, it wasn’t very pretty,” Lloyd said.
But he said the second practice – the day before leaving for Berkeley – his team played well and found some “steely resolve and had a high-character effort to get us started in that game.”
Arizona is 10-2 overall and 1-0 in the Pac-12 Conference.
Four players scored in double figures, with Caleb Love scoring 22 points. Two coming on a spectacular dunk – one of many by the team.
The game allowed for something that hasn’t happened as often as Lloyd would like – a chance to play his bench more, specifically Filip Borovicanin a chance to get some good minutes. He played 13-plus minutes, finishing with six points and three assists.
“I have a tough job,” Lloyd said. “It’s a huge honor and luxury to coach so many good players and unfortunately they can’t play as much as they deserve.”
Lloyd said he’s going to try to give them – the bench players, Borovicanin, Paulius Murauskas – a chance to play more.
“Maybe an injury happens and they’ll have a little more experience … maybe they’ll be ready to play when the opportunity arrives,” Lloyd said. “I’m really happy for Filip, our team is happy for Filip. I told our guys that being part of a great team is sacrificing for those other guys that have sacrificed for you. That’s what we’re trying to establish in our culture.”
Another bench player came through in a big way, Motiejus Krivas, who had a career-high 18 points and five rebounds. He was a big presence near the basket.
“I’ve said it early (thinking) he could be our leading scorer in short minutes (played),” Lloyd said. “He scores easy around the basket. He’s got great touch and got great size. Now we’ve got to get to rebound a little bit better.”