Saturday, Feb. 25, wasn't just another game, it was the Arizona men's basketball team's final home game in McKale Center for the 2022-23 season and it was senior day. Arizona has four seniors on the team with Courtney Ramey, Cedric Henderson, Jordan Mains and Matthew Lang.
Arizona ended up losing to ASU by a score of 89-88 on a buzzer-beater half-court 3-point shot by Desmond Cambridge. Arizona now moves to 24-5 on the season and 13-5 in the Pac-12.
"Listen, you're playing a tough game and a team has to hit a 60-footer to beat you, you're probably picking that on most days. I thought there [were] a lot of great moments and obviously, I wish we would have played maybe better defensively," head coach Tommy Lloyd said. "I'm already moved on and looking forward to practice on Monday."
This is the first time that Arizona has lost to ASU in McKale Center since March 9, 2019.
Lloyd started all four seniors today on their senior day along with Oumar Ballo at center. Mains scored Arizona's first basket of the game. Mains and Lang played the first three minutes of the game before Lloyd put his normal starting five on the floor.
"I just think you have to have a bigger perspective than that, it's about treating people right. It's about honoring people that make a ton of sacrifices and contribute to your program," Lloyd said. "So for me there's no regrets and it's a decision I would make again."
The Wildcats had five players score double digits in this game with Henderson leading the team in scoring with 19 points.
"I thought Ced was great, he got off to a good start. Ced's a really good player and I think he's really grown over the course of the season," Lloyd said.
Azuolas Tubelis had three fouls but didn't let that stop him from being productive on the offensive end of the floor. He had 17 points with nine rebounds but didn't play in the final sequence of the game because of his poor defense as of late.
"Defensively he was bad, you know he just didn't play great defense tonight," Lloyd said. "I know effort on defense, and he's got to play better."
Pelle Larsson had 16 points, six rebounds and two assists on 3-4 shooting from deep. This was Larsson's sixth straight game with at least 10 points in a game.
Arizona had a 10 point lead over ASU with 6:30 left in the game. Since that point in the game, ASU ended the game on a 21-10 scoring run. The Wildcats only made one field goal in the final six minutes of the game.
"I don't know what the odds are on that shot going in, but I think we're probably like 98 times out of 100 we are sitting here talking about a different thing, but it was just one of those two or three percent chances and, hey, good for the kid, I mean it was a heck of a shot," Lloyd said.
The Wildcats were 23-34 shooting the ball from the free throw line which is 67.6%. They were 80% from the free throw line in the second half.
Ballo had four fouls so he played only 18 minutes. Ramey had 14 points while making four 3-pointers. He added five rebounds, four assists, but had four turnovers.
"I mean, whatever, maybe it impacts things a little bit here and there, but not enough to matter, so let's get better," Lloyd said.
Arizona now has four days off before they head to Southern California for their final two games of the season. First they play the University of Southern California Trojans on Thursday night and then UCLA on Saturday. USC can tie Arizona for second place in the Pac-12 standings tonight if they beat University of Utah at 6 p.m.
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