Arizona’s locker room had the feeling of a team that just lost, rather one that won by over 20 points.
The Wildcats’ defense just wasn’t where it has been all season.
“At this point of the season we can’t afford for anything like that,” Brandon Ashley said. “We have to make sure we are all locked in and all focused because at this point anybody in this tournament has the ability to win and we can’t take anybody lightly.”
Ashley remained optimistic, hoping that Thursday will serve as a wakeup call of sorts.
“I wouldn’t say that we are unhappy,” he said. “I would say that we’re somewhat disappointed in our defensive effort.
“Obviously we played extremely well offensively, but in the three games we lost this year it’s all been defensive problems. I think everybody is awake now and we have to make sure we really lock in and defend.”
Texas Southern presented a unique challenge in the way it ran its offense and Ashley was sure to credit the Tigers.
“Texas Southern is an extremely talented team, but at the same time it is on us to make sure we are focused every game,” he said.
“They’re a very talented team and they are extremely quick and athletic. it was different than what we have faced before.”
Arizona did not fall to an upset such as teams like Baylor and Iowa State, but the fact that there are upsets does not come as a surprise to Ashley.
“I don’t think much of it,” he said. “We’re at the point of the season where almost everybody is equally talented and if you take your eyes off the prize and don’t focus on the right things, it will hurt you.
“Maybe those teams weren’t expecting those games to be as competitive or weren’t prepared for it.”