Andre Miller drives
past Mike Bibby.
March 21, 1998
ANAHEIM, Calif. - Andre Miller had heard all the talk - he was facing the country's finest point guard.
But it was Miller, not Arizona's Mike Bibby, who looked the part Saturday.
"I think it just shows he's the best point guard in the country right now," Utah's Hanno Mottola said after Miller led the Utes to a shocking 76-51 victory over Arizona, giving them their first Final Four berth in 32 years.
"He got a triple-double, and at the college level, that's unbelievable," Mottola added. "It's unbelievable he handled the pressure that well. He was amazing."
Miller scored 18 points and had career highs of 14 rebounds and 13 assists - his first triple-double. For good measure, he had two steals and a blocked shot.
And against Arizona's fullcourt press, Miller committed just three turnovers - all in the second half.
Bibby, meanwhile, had seven points, one assist and one steal.
"I was mostly hearing about Mike Bibby and Miles Simon and all these guys, so you just try to go out there and forget about it," the soft-spoken Miller said. "I just tried to go out there and not embarrass myself."
If anyone was embarrassed, it would be Bibby, who made just 3-of-15 shots.
Miller acknowledged it was probably the best game he's ever played.
"I think so, overall," he said. "The zone that we had, I just stood around at the top. That's where I got my rest during the game. I guess that's where my numbers came from."
Miller was part of Utah's triangle-and-two defense, which the Utes call "66." For the most part, Drew Hansen guarded Bibby; Alex Jensen defended against Simon, and Mottola, Miller and Michael Doleac played a swarming zone.
Reserve David Jackson also contributed on the defensive end, and scored 10 points as well.
"It's something we don't do very often," Doleac said of the triangle-and-two. "We're mainly a man-to-man team. It was working so well, we didn't want to come out of it."
Said Mottola: "We practiced it about 20 minutes the entire year, and played it maybe two or three possessions against UNLV."
Miller expressed the opinion the triangle-and-two wouldn't work.
"I thought they would probably score over 100 points on us with Simon and Bibby because during practice, our walk-ons would score on us all the time with the triangle-and-two," Miller said.
Jackson said he thought Arizona was caught off guard by the triangle-and-two.
"In a huddle, coach asked if we wanted to back to the man-to-man, and everybody said together, `No, 66,' " Jackson said.
The Utes used a 12-2 run early in the second half to blow the game open. That made it 45-27 and Arizona wasn't closer than 15 points after that.
Perhaps Doleac signaled the outcome was decided when Utah took a timeout with 10:37 remaining and the score 50-33.
He looked over at former Utah star Jeff Jonas, a member of the Utes' broadcast crew, and winked.
"I don't think this was an upset at all," Doleac said. "We pride ourself
on our defense. We played an incredible game. This is how we play."