Arizona Basketball

Arizona Wildcats 25 years ago today: Tulane Simon-ized in Phoenix

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 Feb. 9, 1997, when Arizona defeated Tulsa 81-62 at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix. 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: Feb. 9, 1997, Phoenix

First, let’s quash the rumors. No, 7UP Shootout officials aren’t considering the name of their game to the Miles Simon Shootout.

But after two years, it appears Simon owns the made-for-television event. He hit a 65-foot game-winner at the buzzer last year against Cincinnati and scored a career-high 30 points today in No. 14 Arizona’s 81-62 victory over No. 21 Tulane in the 7UP Shootout here at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

“I had a couple of good games here, and it’s been real good games here, and it’s been real good for me here, especially because it was on national TV and everything,” Simon said of today’s performance.

Good may be an understatement.

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If last year he was dubbed “Miracle Miles” for his game-winner, which put him in the national spotlight with a possible ESPN ESPY Award, today he was remained “Marvelous Miles” or “Sensational Simon.”

As Tulane’s Perry Clark, whose team looked outclassed and overmatched against Arizona’s smaller players, put it: It was Simon’s back-to-back 3-pointers with seven minutes left in the game that were the “daggers” for the Green Wave.

Simon stretched UA’s lead to 21 points, 68-47. Simon had 19 second-half points, including three treys.

”We knew he was a good shooter and we tried not to give him a number of free looks,” Clark said. “They then do a good job of giving him free looks, and he knocked them down. But everybody in the Pac-10 and the nation knows he’s capable of that.”

And so, for the second straight contest, Simon took control of Arizona’s game.

“I think he enjoys playing up there,” said UA assistant Jessie Evans, who added with a laugh, “Obviously he likes that arena.

“What he’s doing is taking on the role (as leader) very well. He’s taking it to the next level. He’s getting everybody pumped in the locker room and talking to them, and he’s doing it before we do. With him, he takes it seriously. Then he goes out and does this. He gives that extra little. Everyone sees that and they feed off of it.”

Simon senses it. On the court, he sees the team is more relaxed, perhaps because with each game he brings maturity and/or because he has some sort of effect on the players.”

Simon said, “I’m trying to be vocal, and our guys are looking at me, trying to keep things under control. Mike Bibby is calm, so is JT (Jason Terry) and Michael Dickerson. There’s a feeling out there things are all right. You can see we are settling down. I like that.”

He also liked that along with his 30 points came 10 assists, making it his first double-double of his career, while playing a season-high 36 minutes.

“I just think it was time to step up my game,” said Simon, who missed the first semester for academic reasons.

— Steve Rivera

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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