Arizona Basketball

Arizona Wildcats 25 years ago today: Terry, Dickerson help compete sweep of Oregon schools

EDITOR NOTE: is running a feature this basketball season highlighting what happened 25 years ago on that particular day commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Arizona Wildcats’ national championship. The next in the series is what occurred and what was written concerning the developments of Jan. 25, 1997, when Arizona beat Oregon 88-66 at McKale Center. The information gathered is through articles written by beat reporters Steve Rivera (Tucson Citizen) and Javier Morales (Arizona Daily Star), who now are writing for

You can access previous stories in this series by clicking on this link.

DATELINE: Jan. 25, 1997, McKale Center

For Jason Terry, everything begins and ends with defense.

Yet, it’s what’s in between that has Arizona coaches, teammates and fans raving.

The sophomore guard from Seattle gives Arizona that athletic boost and fire. And he’s a player who can provide so much.

There hasn’t been a game this season for the Wildcats in which he hasn’t played at less than 100 percent.

In Arizona’s 88-66 victory over Oregon today at McKale Center, Terry scored 11 points, had five assists and one steal. This is after he had 16 points and seven assists against Oregon State in a 99-48 win a couple of days ago.

”The best example of how critical Jason was to us was when Oregon closed the gap (to 12) and he went out and made some great plays and got us going,” said Arizona coach Lute Olson, whose team moved up a spot to third in the Pacific 10 Conference standings with the sweep of the Oregon schools.

No. 11 UA is 5-2 in the conference and 12-4 overall.

Terry, a sophomore, has been a big part of that record. He’s UA’s unsung hero, perhaps because he’s wearing a number of hats on this year’s team. He’s the team’s defensive stopper; the point guard when freshman Mike Bibby isn’t running the team; and the off guard when Bibby is in.

”I think he’s a versatile guy, just as the other guys are,” UA assistant coach Jessie Evans said. ”On the defensive end he gets the steals. And with everything else he’s had to step up. That was the x factor of not having Miles Simon in there at the beginning (because of academics). It made Jason step up. It made Mike Bibby step up and Michael Dickerson step up and assume bigger roles. That was a positive when Miles was out. The good thing was JT responded.”

So much so that Terry may be one of the more underrated players in the league. He went into the Oregon games as the league leader in steals at 2.8 a game (he’s now at 2.6); he’s among the leaders in free-throw shooting at 78.4 percent; and among the leaders in assists at 5.1 a game.

”He’s become more of an all-around player,” said Simon, who had 11 points and nine assists. ”His defense has always been there. But he’s been able to pick up his scoring because he gets steals and turns them into layups.”

Easily, defense is his pride and joy. He’s Arizona’s busybody when facing opponents. It was his No. 1 goal coming into this season.

”I wanted to establish myself myself as the defensive stopper, to come in and shut down the other team’s main scorer,” said Terry, who helped on Kenya Wilkins tonight but was primarily on Jamal Lawrence (who had 18 points but had to take 15 shots, making only six, to get that many).

”I just felt that was my strength. And because Arizona needed that kind of guy I just thought I’d add that to the team. I do want to be that defensive stopper. And I’ve been real pleased with it (his performance).”

— Steve Rivera

* * * * *

Michael Dickerson, mired in a 12-for-43 shooting slump entering the Oregon game, turned in a performance that was indicative of how the Wildcats improved after getting swept a week ago in Los Angeles against USC and UCLA.

After going 1 for 5 in the first half against the Ducks, he was 4 for 6 in the second half.

By going to the free-throw line 11 times in the second half, his aggressiveness really showed.

“At halftime, the coaching staff and all the players gave me the confidence I needed,” said Dickerson, who scored 18 of his 20 points in the second half of the 88-66 win over the Ducks.

“That meant a lot to me. It made me feel better about myself.”

— Javier Morales

Arizona Wildcats 1996-97 Men's Basketball Schedule

11/22/96197 North Carolina

Hall of Fame Tipoff Classic
W 83–72Springfield (MA)
11/26/9611Northern ArizonaW 88–70McKale Center
11/30/961119 New MexicoL 84-77Albuquerque (NM)
12/7/96153 Utah

John Wooden Classic
W 69–61Anaheim (CA)
12/9/961513 TexasW 83–78McKale Center
12/14/968Jackson StateW 111–83McKale Center
12/21/9664 MichiganL 73-71 OTAuburn Hills (MI)
12/28/969Robert Morris

Fiesta Bowl Classic
W 118–54McKale Center

Fiesta Bowl Classic
W 93–51McKale Center
1/2/979CaliforniaW 81-80McKale Center
1/4/97921 StanfordW 76-75McKale Center
1/11/977Arizona StateW 92-84Tempe
1/16/976USCL 75-62Los Angeles
1/18/976UCLAL 84-78 OTLos Angeles
1/23/9711Oregon StateW 99-48McKale Center
1/25/9711OregonW 88-66McKale Center
1/30/9710Washington StateW 87-78Pullman (WA)
2/2/9710Washington L 92-88Seattle
2/5/9714Arizona StateW 87-71McKale Center
2/9/971421 Tulane

7Up Shootout
W 81-62Phoenix
2/13/971124 UCLAL 66-64McKale Center
2/15/9711USCW 101-77McKale Center
2/20/9713OregonL 78-72Eugene (OR)
2/22/9713Oregon StateW 74-64Corvallis (OR)
2/27/9715Washington StateW 100-86McKale Center
3/2/9715WashingtonW 103-82McKale Center
3/6/971223 Stanford L 81-80Palo Alto (CA)
3/8/9712CaliforniaL 79-77San Francisco
3/13/97413 South Alabama

NCAAT 1st Round
W 65-57Memphis
3/15/97412 College of Charleston

NCAAT 2nd Round
W 73-69Memphis
3/21/9741 Kansas

Sweet Sixteen
W 85-82Birmingham (AL)
3/23/97410 Providence

Elite Eight
W 96-92 OTBirmingham (AL)
3/29/9741 North Carolina

Final Four
W 66-58Indianapolis
3/31/9741 Kentucky

W 84-79 OTIndianapolis

FOLLOW @JAVIERJMORALES ON TWITTER! publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports,, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District.

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