Byrd speaks highly of Arizona after loss

Belmont coach Rick Byrd had nothing but positive things to say about Arizona after Thursday's loss. Read on to see what he said about Arizona's strategy, rebounding, and more.

Belmont was a trendy pick to upset Arizona on Thursday, but wound up losing to the Wildcats by 17 points. After the game, Belmont head coach Rick Byrd had nothing but positive things to say about Arizona.

"I think this was pretty simple," Byrd said. "Arizona just outplayed us. They played a better game than we did. I can say that they made shots better than we did. They got better shots than we did.

"It was kind of two different halves. We really struggled offensively; I thought their defensive game plan was very good. We struggled to get shots in the first half and they got 32."

Byrd attributed his squad's loss to simply not making enough shots and not rebounding its misses.

"We created maybe 10 turnovers against them," he said. "The rebounding numbers were not good. They missed 14 shots in the first half and they got half of those, which gives them too many opportunities. I think that hurt us all night long.

"Again, this is just crying over spilled milk, but we missed five layups in the first half. We missed the same kind of threes that they made throughout the game, and if you're going to beat a team that is that good and that talented, you kind of have to make it go other way."

Belmont did plenty of scouting for Arizona, but Byrd believes that the UA team he saw on Thursday is better than any team he saw on tape.

"You've got to make big time plays and finish layups and we have to shoot it better than they shoot it, and we didn't do it," he said. "It's to their credit, and I was more impressed with the team that I saw tonight than I was in scouting them. I thought they were more engaged and more focused, and I think if they play that way they can beat a lot of people."

In addition, one coaching aspect that made life more difficult for Belmont is who Sean Miller decided to use defensively.

"The thing that they did that made it tougher for us we worked all week with the thought that Tarczewski would guard Trevor Noack and we could get some threes out of Trevor, who shot 40 to 40 plus this year.

"Instead, he guarded Blake in our starting lineup and then we really couldn't get the offense that I thought we could get. It took me too darn long to find something that would work, and I think the second half was a result of Kerron having a little bit more freedom and making things happen and that's more what we do better. I didn't get that adjustment made during the first half very well."

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