Tommy Lloyd: Arizona Wildcats ‘got to tighten things up’ after 19 turnovers

Mar 18, 2022, 9:13 PM | Updated: 9:26 pm

Arizona head coach Tommy Lloyd, right, gestures from the bench during the second half of a first-ro...

Arizona head coach Tommy Lloyd, right, gestures from the bench during the second half of a first-round NCAA college basketball tournament game against Wright State, Friday, March 18, 2022, in San Diego. Arizona won 87-70. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

(AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

The Arizona Wildcats were able to beat Wright State by 17 points despite turning the ball over a whopping 19 times on Friday night in an 87-70 win.

Wright State managed to do that by forcing 10 steals while only committing six turnovers in the contest.

“We had a lot of turnovers and it was from everybody, all these guys playing minutes,” Arizona head coach Tommy Lloyd told reporters postgame. “We’ve got to tighten it up. I don’t want these guys to play conservative.

“Obviously we’re playing without Kerr (Kriisa) right now. We have to tighten it up a little bit and hopefully we’ll be able to rein it in for the next game because we’re shooting a great percentage, but the turnovers on offense kill your efficiency.”

Every Wildcats starter had at least two turnovers, with All-American Second Team guard Bennedict Mathurin having a game-high four turnovers.

However, Arizona managed to pick up 21 assists as a team compared to Wright State’s 13. The Wildcats also had six steals of their own.

“A lot of things to go over,” he told reporters postgame. “We had a lot of turnovers, bad decisions we didn’t play with fundamentals at first, but we adjusted the second half, took care of the ball a little bit.

“And just do the things that we used to do the whole year, basically. So we had a pretty good experience, pretty good performance. But always need to improve.”

But despite having nine extra shots due to all the extra possessions off turnovers, Wright State’s abysmal 34.8% shooting from the field (24 of 69) and  could not put a dent in Arizona’s lead that was as large as 21 at one point.

The Wildcats shot 55% from the floor (33-for-60) and three (11 of 20) while dominating the glass 46-25.

That offensive execution was done without the likes of starting point guard Kerr Kriisa, who missed his third straight game due to a right ankle sprain he sustained in Arizona’s first Pac-12 Tournament game last week.

The sophomore was, however, in full uniform and on the bench with his teammates after being held out the last two ballgames.

“Kerr has been our point guard all year. And he’s helped us run our offense, getting in our flow, help us in our transition, with decision-making,” Lloyd said. “The calculus today was simple. I didn’t feel like he was quite ready to play.

“And was hoping that we could get through this game without needing him. And fortunately we were. Now we’ll kind of roll up our sleeves and see what tomorrow brings, keep attacking the thing. He’s closer to playing than not playing. So hopefully soon.”

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Tommy Lloyd: Arizona Wildcats ‘got to tighten things up’ after 19 turnovers