Arizona Basketball

Arizona responds for a good result in beating Washington, 91-75

In the sports world it’s called the get-right game, where teams hope to return to their winning ways after a misstep.

Arizona did that and more on Saturday afternoon in its more than a stroll win over visiting Washington.

“It’s a response game,” Lloyd said using a different term but equally important. “And you just need to get the result. You got to dig into a process, but you’re fighting to get back on that winning side of the ledger. And so that’s what today came down to.”

The 91-75 win did more than get No. 4 Arizona right again, moving UA to 21-6 overall and 12-4 in the Pac-12.

Caleb Love celebrating another 3-pointer! (Photo courtesy of Arizona Athletics)

Arizona was able to return to form – from time to time – in looking like a No. 4 team while other times looking like a team that is still searching for answers. To wit: Just when you thought Arizona was about to put UW away with a 20-point-or-more win, it saw the Dawgs come back to close it to within single digits.

What’s one to think? Good Cats, so-so Cats in one game … again.

“I thought we got off to a good start,” Lloyd said. “We had a little stretch, there kind of about five minutes to go in the first half and we got a little sloppy. Kylan (Boswell) has to learn that, that’s why I was on him because I know that’s kind of the next step for him.”

Which brings us to get right No. 2. For the past two months – maybe more – Boswell has been inconsistent, playing well some moments and playing poorly in others. Saturday had that from him. So much so, Lloyd was seen getting on Boswell verbally after he lost the ball on a steal and appeared indifferent.

You saw it. I saw it. We all saw it. Boswell went to the bench before halftime.

Then, in the second half, Boswell, played much better … or was at least more engaged. He finished with nine points.

Lloyd had a friend/coaching mentor in town (Steve Hertz) and used him as an example.

“He and I talk a lot. He told me that, when you get on a guy, they need to know you love them,” Lloyd said. “I love Kylan, that’s why I’m on him because I have high standards for him, I believe in him. And I want him to get better at those things. Having coached Kylan a little bit now, I think he needs that a little bit. It’s not my favorite thing to do but I gotta do what I think is best for that individual player. And Kylan responds to that. Hopefully, pretty soon he’ll grow out of it, and he’ll have matured a little bit we could just have more reasonable conversations.”

Whatever works.

Like Saturday, whatever worked in preventing UA to lose two straight. It’s never happened under Lloyd, who is now 17-0 under those conditions.

“That does say a lot about this team’s character,” said Oumar Ballo, who had his seventh double-double with 14 rebounds and 14 points. “After a loss, we don’t let our last mistake affect our next opportunity for us. We always look forward to the next. When we lose a game, we try to come back much stronger the next one.”

And they did.

Keshad Johnson, who hadn’t played well lately, came out and blocked three shots, hit shots and had what was arguably the dunk of the season. He finished with 16 points. He responded well, especially after Thursday’s last-second foul vs. Washington State.

“It’s a great lesson for the younger guys in our program, and that’s what you do. You gotta respond,” Lloyd said of Johnson’s day. “We don’t ask these guys to be perfect. We just ask them to respond to adversity, and he did that. Keshad, he’s a special person, and he’s having an incredible year, and I’m really happy for him.”

Pelle Larsson had 17 points and seven assists.

“He’s always been a willing passer,” Lloyd said. “He’s been a good passer. I think he’s developing into a great passer. In order to be a great passer, you got to be able to see things a step ahead. And then you have to have enough discipline to turn down tough plays and find things a second later. I think he’s really developing that with his poise.”

And not to bury the lead here, but Caleb Love had a game-high 28 points, hitting nine of 19 shots. It was enough to give him more than 2,000 in a career. He now has 524 for the season.

“I wanted to do it at home,” Love said. “God willing, everything worked out. If I didn’t get it, I’d have been happy to get it at (Arizona State).”

Added Lloyd: “He’s an incredible basketball player, and I think he’s got a really bright future. We’re lucky to have him. To score 2,000 points is not easy to do, and in in less than four years. Kids are starting to do it now (more often), but they’re getting that fifth year (of eligibility). You got to be a really good basketball player to do it. The way he came out today really set the tone for us, so we got off to a good start.”

After all, it was the get right game. Now, on to the next vs. Arizona State.

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