What Tommy Lloyd, Courtney Ramey and Azuolas Tubelis said after Arizona’s road win over ASU

TEMPE—What looked like it was going to be an easy New Year’s Eve victory turned into a nailbiter in the second half, but fifth-ranked Arizona still managed to pull out a 69-60 win at ASU.

Our full recap can be found here. Below is what coach Tommy Lloydguard Courtney Ramey and forward Azuolas Tubelis had to say afterwards:

Lloyd on the start of the second half: “I thought we lacked composure for a certain stretch, and I wanted our guys to figure it out. There’s a reason you try to build a lead in the first half, especially on the road, and when you get the opportunity, you got to try to stretch it out because you know they’re going to make that run. I didn’t expect maybe that significant of a run, or didn’t hope for it, but it happened. So I’m proud of our guys, how they responded. I think they cut it to two, and then we kind of got our wits about us, made a few baskets and then I thought we played great defense down the stretch and kind of controlled the game that last six, eight minutes.”

On ASU’s defense: “They were so aggressive and scrappy, their ball pressure was tremendous, their activity in passing lanes was good, and they were active on our posts. They just did a really good job being active, and we kind of got to toughen up a little bit and maybe look through some of that defense and look north/south and find different ways to attack it.”

On what he said to players during timeouts: “I remember I think it was at the 12-minute media timeout, I think we were up two, and I just said guys, if somebody would have told me we’re up two points with 12 minutes to go in the game I would have taken it, because I’m confident in our ability to close. And then at the 8-minute timeout I think we were up six or eight or something like that, and told them the same thing. So you just want to let him know we’re in a good position to win the game. It’s about winning the game. It’s not about who makes a run in the first half or a strong run in the second half. It’s about finding a way to close out and win the game and our guys did that.”

On Arizona’s defense down the stretch: “We’re gonna be a great defensive team. We’re gonna be a great defensive and rebounding team. Im not making any druthers about that. And I don’t care what our offense is ranked, I just care about getting the result. We play to get the result, and today fortunately we were able to do that.”

On Tubelis: “I thought he had some tremendous … baskets down the stretch of that game, in traffic. It ain’t about no coach drawing anything up, it’s about just a guy having an incredible will to win and. I was really proud of how he responded and he just became such a good player. It’s fun to be a part of.”

On not calling timeouts during opponents’ runs: “I trust my team, and I got veteran guys. They put themselves in that position, sometimes they gotta figure it out on their own. And you only have so many timeouts. I’m trying to win the game. I’m not trying to win the first few minutes of the second half. Had I known it turned into that big of a run I probably would have called a timeout, but I don’t know. I know Kerr (Kriisa) had a good look at three on one of those. I’m like, oh, he makes that, it’s probably better than me calling a timeout. Coaching is far from a perfect science, and I’ll just say this: people who say I should call timeout or shouldn’t call timeout, a lot of people have answers to tests they’ve never passed. So I’m pretty comfortable (with) what I’m doing.”

On how hard it was to play against ASU’s defense: “It’s tremendously tough, but we’re built to do it. So we got to play a little bit better, but at the end of the day, hey, we just wanted to get the result and we got the result. We’re gonna go back and we’re gonna learn from some of the things they did to us. I take great pride in our team getting better week to week, and I can’t wait to get back and practice Monday.”

On the atmosphere: “It was good. It’s good. I mean, I love it. I love that kind of stuff. I mean, to be honest with you, I’m kind of in the game. So I’m really not, I don’t know what the atmosphere looks like or whatever. I’m kind of focused on the game. But I heard some noise and that was good. And I heard some U of A chants, which always feels pretty good to hear that on the road.”

On struggling in the second road game: “I don’t care if it’s the 22nd road game, you’re gonna have swings like that. I mean, that’s real basketball. And it’s hard to win on the road. Arizona State’s not gonna lose many games at home this year, I’m pretty confident in saying that. They got a good ballclub and they’re tough to play here. So we’re happy with the result.”

On Oumar Ballo: “I thought Oumar was good. They probably dedicated a little more attention to him than he’s seen. They had guys in his lap all game, and it’s something he’s got to learn how to deal with. I thought he did a good job handling it, getting us some open shots that hopefully we’ll knock down next time, and then I thought he was really big in the stretch at the end of the game defensively and on the glass.”

Ramey on ASU: “They’re a great team. They showed it in the second half, with how hard they fought back. I think for us, we just wanted to show that we are one of the best teams in the conference. It started tonight, getting this win is going to help us move forward.”

On Lloyd not calling a timeout: “I think Tommy is one of the coaches who gives us the most confidence. I know he trusts us, so when we looked at him he just told us to play and he knew we were going to be fine. They did a really good job early just being aggressive, really just trapping us and forcing turnovers. I don’t think we ever got so rattled during that time. We just knew we had to settle down and just be us.”

On Tubelis: “He’s one of the best scorers in the league, and I think he showed it tonight. We’re roommates, so we talked about a lot of things a couple of days ago. It was just good to see him get it going in the second half and just be himself. So I’m proud of him.”

On player communication during the second half: “We just looked at each other and told each other to take care of the ball. They did a good job of just switching up. I don’t think they pressed us a lot in the first half and they did in the second half. That kind of shocked us but I think we responded in a good way by just getting the ball down low and just being aggressive back towards them. With great teams, you gotta expect them not to lay down, especially on their home court with the home crowd, so they did a good job feeding off their home crowd and they made a ballgame of it … but I think we did a good job of responding and pushing it back out to a safe lead.”

Tubelis at the start of the second half: “We knew that they might have a run. Our coach, he trusts us and didn’t take any quick timeouts. We came back into the game, too. We didn’t rush our shots.”

On ASU’s defense: “They were aggressive on guards. I know I didn’t feel any kind of pressure, maybe one (or) two double teams. Me and O play together really well, so it wasn’t something special we felt from them.”

On starting 1 for 5 from the field: “I know I need to watch the movie again. I don’t need to take that many shots. Sometimes I’m just rushing with my shots and they don’t make sense. They’re bad shots. So I need to just calm down and don’t rush, just move the ball.”

On Henri Veesaar: “He’s just getting better every game, every day in practice. He had some really huge rebounds in today’s game. He’s very effective because (he’s) he’s long. He’s a great player, I’m really, really proud of him. And he’s only, what, 17 years old, so that’s impressive.”

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