Our Greatest Games series is a look back at some of the most memorable single game performances by some of the best players in Arizona basketball history. Make sure to check PGU for the next installment.
What’s not to love about Jason Terry? Not only was he a key member of the 1997 National Championship team, Terry is one of the best examples of a team-first player who has won at all stages of his career. Entering his 15th NBA season for the Brooklyn Nets, Terry has also won an NBA Championship, a 6th Man of the Year Award, and has made the fourth most three point field goals in NBA history. He will also be remembered as one of the most outgoing personalities in Arizona basketball history, and for voluntarily giving up his starting spot for the sake of chemistry to spur Arizona’s 1997 title run.
January 24, 1999, Arizona 85, Oregon 83
37 points, 11-21 FGs, 5-9 3PT, 10-10 FT, 5 stl
In what was a season full of close games, Terry led the 98-99 Wildcats like few seniors in Arizona history. The game at Oregon was just one of example of how Terry put the team on his back, scoring a career high 37 points on the road. It was the most points scored by an Arizona player since Damon Stoudamire scored 40 in a 2OT game against WSU in March of 1995.
Terry had 21 points in the first half on stellar 6-9 shooting, but Arizona struggled to gain separation from the Ducks. In typical fashion, Terry shouldered the load for much of the game scoring nine straight points, including four free throws, to give the Wildcats a 75-70 lead with 6:38 left.
Though he didn’t score for the rest of the game, Terry became famous for a particularly effective psychological ploy. Freshman Frederick Jones, who would go on to play in the NBA, was on the free throw line with his Ducks trailing 84-83 in the final seconds of the game.
As Jones stepped to the line, Terry said to him, “You’re a freshman, you’re going to miss these shots.”
“But I was just joking,” Terry said. “I didn’t think he’d miss them both.”
Arizona won the game after Richard Jefferson corralled the rebound and was fouled with 2.6 seconds to play.
January 28, 1999, Arizona 78, Stanford 76
29 points, 10-10 FT, 5 reb, 4 ast, 2 stl
Terry’s senior season was legendary, but no one could have guessed two of his best games as a Wildcat would come within a four day span. #3 ranked Stanford was coming to McKale for a Pac-10 showdown with #13 Arizona in what turned out to be a classic game.
The Cats were in a crazy stretch in which the last five games were decided in the last 10 seconds, and this one was no different. Giving us one of the best game winners in McKale history, Jason Terry hit a pull up jumper with 3.4 seconds left to give Arizona its final lead. The Arizona fans in the stadium rushed the court for the first time since 1986.
Making the game even more significant was that Terry’s first steal gave him the school record record as Arizona’s all-time steal leader, passing Reggie Geary’s 210 swipes.
“It felt so good,” Terry said after the game. “This is the most focused I’ve been for a basketball event in my entire life. This is the biggest game of my career.”