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. 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 AllSportsTucson.com.
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.
“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
|11/22/96||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.