Javier MoralesThe everyday star of Arizona
Editor’s note: The following story first appeared in the April 1, 1997 edition of the Arizona Daily Star.
INDIANAPOLIS — Kentucky coach Rick Pitono wasn’t lying when he said his team wouldn’t support the entire game because of Arizona’s speed and ball-handling ability.
Pitino’s team did not press until more than five minutes had passed, and for the rest of the game Kentucky used the press sporadically. More often than not, the vaunted press failed, as Arizona committed just 18 turnovers.
“If I had tough guys tonight,” Pitino said after the 84-79 overtime loss, “I wouldn’t have pressed them at all. I didn’t want to insist too much tonight.
“Not just because of their confidence going against it, but I felt pressing tonight was not the way to go.”
Mike Bibby and Miles Simon reinforced his conviction. Bibby was credited with committing eight turnovers, but it looked like he was playing with a lot more control than the number would indicate. Simon did what he does best, attacking the basket after breaking the press.
Continually, it seemed, Bibby was able to dribble down the middle of the court, finding Michael Dickerson on a wing. He tossed the pass to Dickerson, who in turn tossed it to Simon on the other wing. It looked easy.