Paced by 20 points by Rod Wilmont and 12-of-25 3-point shooting as a team, the Red team handed the White team a surprising 79-74 setback in a 40-minute scrimmage at Assembly Hall.
What made the outcome surprising was the White team consisted of five players that many expect to start this season – D.J. White, Marco Killingsworth, Marshall Strickland, Robert Vaden and Lewis Monroe – and Cem Dinc.
But the Red team overcame an eight-point second half deficit, eventually taking the lead for good, 71-69, on a Ben Allen layup with 4:12 remaining. From there, the Red team converted all six of its free throws in the game's final 2:23, and Wilmont came up with a huge play on the defensive end to keep the White from having a chance to tie the game.
With the Red clinging to a 77-74 lead with :15.4 remaining, Wilmont stepped in front of Lewis Monroe pass and called timeout while jumping out of bounds. Soon afterwards, Earl Calloway converted both ends of a 1-and-1, and Red celebrated its win.
"The nice thing for us is come Friday night, we're all on the same team," said assistant head coach Donnie Marsh, who coached the Red team.
Wilmont's performance was particularly encouraging for the IU staff in the wake of the injury to A.J. Ratliff. Ratliff was on the sidelines with a cast on his broken right thumb, and he'll remain unavailable for at least another month. That means that Wilmont could be an important contributor in the backcourt in his absence.
"Rod is an energy person," said Marsh. "He made about three mistakes in the last three minutes of the scrimmage, but he didn't hang his head. He makes the big play with the steal and the timeout.
"That's what I told him – we're going to jump you, we're going to get on you, but you didn't hang your head, and you made the play."
Wilmont, who also had six rebounds and three steals, was one six Red players in double figures. Errek Suhr added 14, Calloway had 12, Ben Allen had 11 and 10 rebounds, and both Sean Kline and Joey Shaw chipped in with 10.
Suhr knocked down 4-of-6 3-pointers as well, while Allen had a team-high 10 rebounds.
Marco Killingsworth led the White team with 23 points and 13 rebounds, but also had seven turnovers. Also scoring in double figures were Robert Vaden (18), D.J. White (13) and Marshall Strickland (12).
The play of the Red team suggests that there's still plenty of work to be done before the coaching staff determines a player rotation that Marsh said can realistically only be eight or nine deep.
"You want to maintain a rhythm, you want guys to be comfortable and have a great rotation," said Marsh. "So you can probably have nine at the most, maybe eight, depending on what coach wants to do.
"But this much we know – if someone goes down, if someone isn't giving it to us, we have enough ammunition on the bench for another guy to step in and take advantage of the opportunity."