There were still balls thrown away here and there. The defense had a few head-scratching moments. Another guy was out with an injury, and the starters had to play until the final minute, too.
But the healing was relative Wednesday, when Arizona beat Louisiana Tech 83-67 to snap a three-game losing streak despite going without guard Brendon Lavender because of a deep thigh bruise.
"We're a mess sometimes out there. We really are," UA coach Sean Miller said. "But I remind myself, and our staff that a lot of it is just patience. … It's about getting better. We took a step backwards (in a 17-point loss at Oklahoma) and I hope we took a step forward tonight."
The Wildcats' win evened their record at 4-4 heading into a Saturday night game at San Diego State. Louisiana Tech, of the Western Athletic Conference, dropped to 7-2.
Nic Wise led the Wildcats with 24 points, five assists and six rebounds while Jamelle Horne had 20 points and eight rebounds. The Wildcats managed to hit 50.9 percent from the floor.
But even with those numbers, Horne had the same kind of perspective that Miller did.
"We won. That's all it is," Horne said. "Coming off three losses, one bad one (at Oklahoma) - but we forgot about that one."
While Kyle Gibson led Louisiana Tech with 25 points, managing to surpass his average of 21.0 points, Arizona kept Louisiana Tech to just 36.4 field goal shooting overall.
Arizona went on a 14-2 run early in the second half to pull away from the Bulldogs, who led by as many as seven points in the first half.
The Wildcats led 51-35 at the end of the run, having tightened up defensively against the Bulldogs, who made just 4 of 14 field goals in the first nine minutes.
At that point, guard Kyle Fogg said, the Wildcats began wearing out the Bulldogs with their depth, even without Lavender and Kevin Parrom (foot stress fracture). Part of the reason was that Miller received quality minutes off the bench from some of his less-frequently used reserves.
"Nic Wise was terrific tonight and Jamelle played a good game," Miller said. "I was also happy with our bench. Alex (Jacobson) and D.J. (Shumpert) and even MoMo (Jones) - the stats don't reveal it but I thought he was in the right place defensively at the right time more often."
The Wildcats also received 11 points, six rebounds and solid defense from Fogg in his first start of the season. Miller had said Tuesday he would replace Lavender with Fogg at shooting guard in his starting lineup.
"I thought he played hard on defense and to me he's hands down our starter at this point," Miller said.
Louisiana Tech trailed by up to 18 points midway through the half, though they never went completely away. The Bulldogs, deploying full-court pressure in the final minutes, kept it within a dozen approaching the last minute before the Wildcats expanded their lead at the free-throw line.
In the first half, Arizona overcame a seven-point deficit to take a 35-31 halftime lead. Solomon Hill scored 10 points to lead the Wildcats, who shot 45 percent from the field. Gibson had 12 points to lead Louisiana Tech.
The Wildcats took the lead for the rest of the half, 31-27, when Hill scored on successive possessions with about four minutes to go and expanded the lead to 35-31 when Kyryl Natyazhko hit the first of two free throws after being fouled when Wise dished to him for a potential dunk in the final seconds.
Two straight three-pointers from Fogg tied the game at 23 with 9:19 left in the half, after UA trailed by as many as seven points early. Wise then stole the ball from the Bulldogs and raced coast-to-coast for a layup to give UA its first lead of the game.
The game was tied again at 25 and 27 before Hill scored twice inside to give UA a 31-27 lead.
Louisiana Tech took early leads of 11-5 and 20-13, taking advantage of five UA turnovers through the first 10 minutes of the game. The Bulldogs also managed to get Gibson open for a three-pointer to make it 18-13 and later, after the UA defense broke down completely, Gibson hit a wide-open three from the top of the key to make it 23-17.
The game was played in front of New Zealand high school center Rob Loe, a new UA recruiting target.
On StarNet: See more photos from the Wildcats' win over Louisiana Tech on Wednesday azstarnet.com/slideshows