Arizona Basketball

Arizona Wildcats 25 years ago today: Dickerson comes to rescue vs. Oregon State

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. 22, 1997, when Arizona beat Oregon State 74-64 at Corvallis, Ore. 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. 22, 1997, Corvallis, Ore.

Clinging to a three-point lead early in the second half, and the Gill Coliseum crowd buzzing, Arizona could ill afford having Miles Simon going to the bench with four fouls.

Or at least that was the general feeling on the bench. Arizona coach Lute Olson, who has said frequently that the Wildcats need Simon’s presence on the court, work a look of concern.

But in the next few minutes, Olson was at ease watching Michael Dickerson lift the Wildcats, with some help from Mike Bibby, to a much-needed 74-64 victory over Oregon State today. Getting swept in Oregon “woud have knocked us out,” Jason Terry said.

Dickerson did not allow that.

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“Michael did all the things we needed him to do — break the defense down, move without the ball and step up on the defensive end,” Olson said.

Dickerson’s 29-point performance on 12-of-17 shooting brought back images of how he played before January, when he was needed to step forward with Simon academically ineligible.

Before Simon rejoined the team on Jan. 11, Dickerson scored 20 or more points in 10 of 11 games. After Simon’s arrival, Dickerson has failed to score 20 or more points six times.

His sporadic production and waning confidence could have been perceived as being a result of Simon taking more shots and becoming involved in the offensive execution. But Dickerson rejected that idea.

“This is a team,” Dickerson said. “I don’t feel like I have to be they guy if Miles is out. We have other guys who can do the job, like Mike and Jason.

“That’s what is good about this team. We can pick each other up.”

Dickerson did his job after Simon took a seat with 17 minutes remaining Arizona leading 34-31. The Wildcats (17-7 overall, 9-5 Pac-10) scored the next 11 points, seven by Dickerson, to take their biggest lead of the game, 45-31, with 14:20 remaining.

Dickerson made 6 of 8 shots and scored 16 points in the second half.

— 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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