By Arlie Rahn
Arizona Daily Wildcat
February 5, 1997

Wildcats could make life ugly for ASU


Nicholas Valenzuela
Arizona Daily Wildcat

UA sophomore guard Jason Terry says he will let Arizona's offense take care of itself and concentrate on defense in tonight's matchup with Arizona State at McKale Center.

When Arizona squares off with Arizona State tonight at 7:37, the matchup may wind up being more butchery than rivalry.

The last game in McKale Center between the two schools ended in a 108-76 Wildcat annihilation of the Sun Devils.

"We know we have a tough basketball game ahead of us," ASU coach Bill Frieder said. "Arizona is not going to be happy after the Washington game. Right now, we just need to find a way to compete for longer periods of time."

The in-state rivalry was in full swing five years ago when ASU defeated Arizona three straight times. Lately, however, the Sun Devils (10-11 overall, 2-7 Pacific 10) have been unable to keep pace with the Wildcats (13-5, 6-3).

"The rivalry is never going to be as intense as the football one, because in football, there is only one game," UA coach Lute Olson said. "I think that our best game against them was our 103-98 overtime loss to them in 1995. We had to play that game witho ut Ben Davis, Joseph Blair and Damon Stoudamire, yet we still competed and played hard."

This season the Sun Devils are the ones without some key players. ASU now lacks eight players that were originally on their roster last May. The more prominent members of this group are Quincy Brewer, Lenny Holly and Ryan McDermott. Brewer was averaging 1 5 points per game before suffering a season-ending thumb injury. Holly, a junior college All-American, developed seizures and couldn't play as a result, and McDermott opted to sign a professional baseball contract with the Cleveland Indians last summer.

"I don't think that anyone could have predicted the hardships that we have had this season," Frieder said. "We are traveling down to Tucson with only eight scholarship players and five are making the trip for the first time."

ASU will be relying on the play of junior guard Jeremy Veal and sophomore transfer Mike Batiste. Veal is averaging 18.1 points per game and is the team's top scorer in five of the last six games. Batiste has been struggling in Pac-10 play, averaging 7.5 p oints in his last four conference road games.

"Jeremy has been playing much better of late," Frieder said. "We benched him before our last game against Arizona and he has responded."

No. 14 Arizona will be looking to their Seattle connection to get the team going. Sophomore guard Jason Terry and junior forward Michael Dickerson finished with 23 points apiece against Washington, with Dickerson adding 11 rebounds to record the first dou ble-double of his career.

"Jason has been the key guy for us in the last couple of games," Olson said. "I can't remember the last time he had a down game. For him, he doesn't even need to score to have a great game."

"I just try and go out and set the tempo on defense," Terry said. "If we can force some turnovers and get into transition then the offense will take care of itself."

One major area of concern for the Wildcats will be the status of junior guard Miles Simon. Simon was suffering from serious back-spasms during the Washington game which limited his effectiveness.

"Miles has been battling back pain since the Washington trip," Olson said. "We thought he was all right in (Monday's) practice, but then he collapsed halfway through with spasms. He seemed to respond well to treatment, but we are not sure of how he will b e feeling Wednesday night."