EDITOR NOTE: AllSportsTucson.com 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 Feb. 27, 1997, when Arizona beat Washington State 100-86 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 AllSportsTucson.com.
You can access previous stories in this series by clicking on this link.
DATELINE: Feb. 27, 1997, McKale Center
So this is what happens when Miles Simon and Michael Dickerson play well together …
Combustion … and that’s on and off the court.
The M&M Boys were more like TNT for the Arizona Wildcats. And because of that, they melted the heart of Washington State, 100-86, today at McKale Center.
“It’s very obvious to anybody that knows basketball how critical it is for us to have Simon and Dickerson to be playing well,” Arizona coach Lute Olson said before ripping a morning-newspaper report that Arizona might be better without Simon, as was said by Utah coach Rick Majerus on an ESPN show.
“I’m very upset about what’s been said. You are not dealing with machines.”
So, how good are they together?
“You want me to get in the middle of a feud?” WSU coach Kevin Eastman said. “I thought Miles Simon was really into the game. His body language, face, eyes, the whole boat. I’ll tell you this, we’ll take Miles.”
No. 15 Arizona isn’t willing to give him up. Never has been, never will be, particularly not after he scored 24 points in today’s win. He and Dickerson combined for 56 points.
Simon declined to speak to the media after the report, but others weren’t shy, particularly not Dickerson.
“Miles is a great player,” Dickerson said. “He shot it well. We’re going to need more of that out of him. We were just in a groove tonight. Everything felt good.”
And looked it, too. Today, they were partners in chime, ringing the bell on 22 of 36 shots, combining for 11 rebounds and seven steals. Not since the first meeting with Arizona State had the two meshed so well. In that game, they combined for 50 points.
Their one-two punch brought back memories of Damon Stoudamire and Khalid Reeves, a duo many teams coudn’t stop.
“I don’t think we’ve been this good together since we’ve been here,” ssid Dickerson, who was 13 of 22 from the field. “We’re capable of doing it all the time.”
And when it happens, other teams will be in trouble because of Arizona’s point potential. When Simon and Dickerson are tough to stop, Arizona players say it makes the team more durable, dependable and deadly.
“This was like their coming out party,” Jason Terry said. “That’s what they can do every night. We’ll see if they can do it consistently.”
If they do, Arizona players say, watch out.
“I think it’ll be practically impossible to beat us,” A.J. Bramlett said. “It’s because we have two scoring threats out there. You can’t just key on one guy because the other guy will hit the shot.”
— Steve Rivera
Arizona Wildcats 1996-97 Men's Basketball Schedule
|11/22/96||19||7 North Carolina|
Hall of Fame Tipoff Classic
|W 83–72||Springfield (MA)|
|11/26/96||11||Northern Arizona||W 88–70||McKale Center|
|11/30/96||11||19 New Mexico||L 84-77||Albuquerque (NM)|
John Wooden Classic
|W 69–61||Anaheim (CA)|
|12/9/96||15||13 Texas||W 83–78||McKale Center|
|12/14/96||8||Jackson State||W 111–83||McKale Center|
|12/21/96||6||4 Michigan||L 73-71 OT||Auburn Hills (MI)|
Fiesta Bowl Classic
|W 118–54||McKale Center|
Fiesta Bowl Classic
|W 93–51||McKale Center|
|1/2/97||9||California||W 81-80||McKale Center|
|1/4/97||9||21 Stanford||W 76-75||McKale Center|
|1/11/97||7||Arizona State||W 92-84||Tempe|
|1/16/97||6||USC||L 75-62||Los Angeles|
|1/18/97||6||UCLA||L 84-78 OT||Los Angeles|
|1/23/97||11||Oregon State||W 99-48||McKale Center|
|1/25/97||11||Oregon||W 88-66||McKale Center|
|1/30/97||10||Washington State||W 87-78||Pullman (WA)|
|2/5/97||14||Arizona State||W 87-71||McKale Center|
|2/13/97||11||24 UCLA||L 66-64||McKale Center|
|2/15/97||11||USC||W 101-77||McKale Center|
|2/20/97||13||Oregon||L 78-72||Eugene (OR)|
|2/22/97||13||Oregon State||W 74-64||Corvallis (OR)|
|2/27/97||15||Washington State||W 100-86||McKale Center|
|3/2/97||15||Washington||W 103-82||McKale Center|
|3/6/97||12||23 Stanford||L 81-80||Palo Alto (CA)|
|3/8/97||12||California||L 79-77||San Francisco|
|3/13/97||4||13 South Alabama|
NCAAT 1st Round
|3/15/97||4||12 College of Charleston|
NCAAT 2nd Round
|W 85-82||Birmingham (AL)|
|W 96-92 OT||Birmingham (AL)|
|3/29/97||4||1 North Carolina|
|W 84-79 OT||Indianapolis|
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com 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 CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, 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.