No. 5 Arizona looks to push its home winning streak to 27 games Thursday when the Wildcats hosts Morgan State in Tucson.
Arizona (11-1) also will be trying to match its season high with a sixth consecutive victory. They won their first six games of the season before getting upended by Utah in their Pac-12 opener Dec. 1 in Salt Lake City.
Undaunted, Arizona regained its composure and began another streak and Tuesday night won its fifth in a row, an 85-64 decision over Montana State.
Despite the lopsided victory, Wildcats coach Tommy Lloyd took issue with his club’s performance.
“The points were there for the taking (but) we just missed some shots that we’re hoping to make,” Lloyd said. “We’ve got to get better. We have to get better. That’s been my message to the guys. A few wins in November and December doesn’t mean you’re a great team.
“There’s no givens in this deal, and we have to make sure that we’re on it.”
Kerr Kriisa finished with 18 points on six 3-pointers on Tuesday to fall one shy of his career high. He had made just one of eight from beyond the arc in his two previous games.
Cedric Henderson Jr scored 16 points off the bench Tuesday, Azuolas Tubelis collected 14 points and nine rebounds and Oumar Ballo added 11 and 10. Six Wildcats scored in double figures to help the club improve to 7-0 at home.
Lloyd was quite candid when asked how he balances with the players that he’s not happy despite the lopsided win.
“They know. And listen, I don’t like yell at them all the time or berate them about it,” Lloyd said. “There just has to be a general feel within a program of how you’re playing. And the players know when it feels right and it doesn’t feel right, and we have to fight to make it feel right. And that’s what I’m fighting for, and they know I have high standards.”
Morgan State (4-7) fell to 0-6 on the road following its 75-63 setback at Maryland-Baltimore County on Saturday. The Bears were undone in the first half when they behind by as many as 20 points and eventually trailed by 16 at the intermission.
“You can’t cut someone open and change their heart,” Morgan State coach Kevin Broadus said, per the Baltimore Sun. “It seemed like our heart during the first half was not inside here. We missed so many easy, close shots. I don’t know if that’s preparation or nerves or pressing too hard. That was the thing that I thought got us down pretty big in the first half.”
Will Thomas connected on 8 of 13 shots from the floor and scored 18 of his game-high 22 points in the second half in the loss.
Malik Miller had 14 points and seven rebounds and Isaiah Burke added 10 points.
Burke averages a team-best 17.4 points on the season and Miller contributes 16.4 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists.
Arizona has not lost at home since a 63-61 loss to Oregon on Feb. 13, 2021. The Wildcats won 81 consecutive home games from 1945 to 1951, 71 in a row from 1987 to 1992, and 49 in a row from 2013 to 2016.
–Field Level Media