Tommy Lloyd said Arizona’s 59-55 loss to Princeton in the first round of the NCAA Tournament will not be a setback for the program, but it’s on the members of his locker room to make sure that promise is kept.

Arizona was stunned by the 15-seed Tigers on Thursday, marking the third straight NCAA Tournament where a 15 beat a No. 2 seed. Arizona has the distinct privilege of being the only program in basketball to lose in the first round as a 2-seed twice. Naturally, there was some disappointment after the game, but when Lloyd met with reporters, the message was more about what Arizona has to do to rally from the loss.

Here’s everything the head coach said:

Opening Statement

“Yeah, no, listen, hey, I’ve been blessed. I’ve had a great start to my coaching career at Gonzaga, then coming to Arizona. There’s going to be some bad with a lot of good. I’m built for it.

“This is going to be a small setback because, not for me, I’m just sad for these guys that they don’t get to experience how special an NCAA run is because these guys were built to do that.

“We ran into a good team today that made the right plays at the right time. We weren’t able to separate from them enough when we had opportunities. That’s what happens when you’re able to stick around a basketball game.

“They made enough plays down the stretch and we didn’t. I’ll tip my hat to them. They’re a hard team to play against. I knew it was going to be a tough game. I know that program has a ton of pride. They’re well-coached, have great fundamentals. That showed today.”

On how Princeton defended the paint

“Listen, you sit here in my seat, you have an All-American big guy, an All-Conference big guy, you go inside over and over and over again, and you shoot seven free throws. I mean, I don’t know if they’re fouls or not. They must not have been because obviously they didn’t get called.

“When the game is reffed like that, it makes it tough. When you have an advantage, either they’re really physical and not fouling or they’re not calling the fouls. I haven’t reviewed the game, so I’m not saying one way or the other. It makes it tough. It makes it tough when your advantage is negated a little bit. I thought we did a good job having the conviction to go inside. We didn’t have enough shots and get rewarded with whistles. That’s how it goes.”

On what they needed to do more of down the stretch

“Well, I mean, obviously probably I think they got a couple offensive rebounds that led to big plays. We got the ball in front of the rim a couple times and didn’t deliver. I didn’t think our end-of-the-game execution, our poise was what it has been in close games. That’s a little disappointing.

“But I told our guys, if you want to be a great player, you want to be a great coach, we all got to learn from this. We got to go back and figure out what happened and understand the value of being up 10 to 12 points with 10 minutes to go, putting the hammer on people, not letting people get back in the game.

“Traditionally we’ve been built to do that. Recently we’ve kind of struggled in that area a little bit and kind of let people back in the game. If you play with fire, you’re going to get burned. Obviously we did today.”

On Kerr Kriisa and Pelle Larsson saying there was a lack of energy

“Yeah, that’s interesting. I don’t know. I know that wasn’t the message. I thought we had a good week of preparation. I thought we were trying to build for a tournament run. Maybe, I don’t know, some of these guys just were a little bit nervous. I don’t know. I don’t know. Or they expected the game to be easier than what it was. That definitely wasn’t the message from the coaching staff.

“I just know this: nothing great in life is achieved without energy and enthusiasm. I mean, I think that’s one of those things these players need to take a look in the mirror. That’s controllable by them, is their effort and their energy. So we can be better there.”

On how he’ll view the 2022-23 season

“I think we had a great season. We had a great season. I mean, obviously we’re still trying to build and develop this program. I’m still trying to develop as a coach. I think we were ranked in the top 10 for most of the year. I think these guys earned that. I think we performed well on lots of big stages. Just unfortunately ultimately you’re going to be judged sometimes how you play in this tournament. That’s the good and the bad of it.

“Like I said, I’ve been on the good side a lot, so I’m tough enough to be on the bad side and learn from this and have it kind of help reenergize me to make sure that we come back better as a program from this.”

On Lloyd taking more of a future-focused outlook after the game rather than looking at the disappointment

“Well, I would just say I know how hard it is, and I respect how hard it is. If you want to do great things in life, you’ve got to be willing to step in some dog shit once in a while. That’s just how it is. And we did today. A lot of it was self-inflicted, but a lot of it was from a great opponent who has a lot of pride.

“I knew it was going to be a hard game. This coaching thing is hard because you’re literally judged on wins and losses in a moment’s notice. I don’t think that’s a healthy way to live your life if you are a coach. I mean, I know it’s gut-wrenching. I’ll probably go through a sway of emotions in the next few days.

“I love what I do, and I couldn’t imagine having a real job. I’m thankful for the job. I’m thankful for the opportunity our president, who is sitting here, gave me. I owe it to the game of basketball. I owe it to these players. I owe it to my family to keep my head up, stay classy. I think that’s the only way to operate.

“I promise you I’ll get better from this. I have lots of room to grow as a coach. I’m hard on myself every day. You know, I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and start the process of getting better.”

On the smaller rotation, and whether guys being banged up played a factor in the outcome

“We’ll never know. We’re not using that as any excuse. We’ll never know. I’m sure everybody has injuries this time of year. Our players that were a little banged up played. They were out there and they were functioning. I mean, I don’t know if that really had anything to do with it.”

On losing three to the NBA, then coming back and winning another Pac-12 title and grabbing a No. 2 seed

“Listen, I love the direction the program’s going. I mean, this isn’t going to be a setback. It’s not going to be a setback. We as a program have to rally around that. We control how we react from this. I’m super proud of these guys. I’m super proud of all those guys in the locker room. I mean, you know what, they’ve done a lot for me in my life, and I’m thankful for them every single day. You know what, I wish the result was different, we could keep playing on, because they’re deserving. But that’s how it goes sometimes.”