Arizona had some time off before Saturday’s matchup against Arizona State and head coach Tommy Lloyd took the opportunity to work on a few things.
“You’re always working on yourself and you’re always preparing for the next opponent,” said Lloyd. “We didn’t do anything out of the ordinary that we wouldn’t normally do here. We had a little bit of a laundry list of things that I was hoping to clean up or add to the mix, that you’re just not able to do when you’re playing a stretch of games. Hopefully we’re going to push the right buttons and be ready to play well on Saturday.”
The last true road game Arizona played was a blowout loss to Utah and the Wildcats have seemingly learned a lesson from that performance.
“Utah was a great lesson,” Arizona center Oumar Ballo said. “We were not ready mentally, we were not ready physically to play against Utah. It taught us a great lesson. We learned that you can lose to any team if you’re not ready and to take every team seriously.”
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Lloyd agrees with Ballo in that the Wildcats learned from their performance that game.
“You’ve just got to tell your guys, you can’t go out and play with no effort, no energy and expect things to go your way,” Lloyd said. “You’ve got to be aggressive. In that game we were none of those things and we were playing catch up the whole time. We ran into a team that played a lot better than we did that day. We can’t let that happen.”
It’s never easy to win on the road in college basketball, which is why Lloyd believes Arizona needs to play its best.
“You’ve got to be airtight on the road,” he said. “You can’t go and you can’t be sleepwalking. You can’t go and think that you can throw the ball all over the gym.”
Arizona State’s last matchup was an embarrassing loss to San Francisco, but Lloyd isn’t making much of the Sun Devils’ performance.
“USF is obviously having a good year and they played really well that night and ASU didn’t,” Lloyd said. “I know how that feels to go on the road and just have one of those lackluster performances. I would chalk that up to an anomaly.”
The Sun Devils have one of the best two-point defenses in the country and it’s due to a variety of factors.
“They’re aggressive,” Lloyd said. “They’re handsy. They take chances, they play with great effort and they got rim protection behind all of that. That’s usually a pretty good formula.”