Bloomington, Ind. – With D.J. White still playing limited minutes due to conditioning and Marshall Strickland having an off night shooting the ball, it was junior Roderick Wilmont who emerged as an unlikely hero in Indiana's win over Michigan.
Wilmont helped the Hoosiers with two critical steals followed by dunks that energized his teammates, fired up the crowd, and erased a 31-27 Michigan lead early in the second half. He followed that up with two straight 3-pointers midway through the half that gave Indiana a nine-point lead and the momentum in a game that went back-and-forth throughout.
"Rod gave us an incredible boost tonight," said White. "When he hit those two big three's back-to-back, that was big for us. It helped us on our little run so it was very, very big."
Playing one of his best overall games in his career, Wilmont finished with 12 points, five rebounds and two steals while playing 24 minutes. After going 0-2 from the floor and being held scoreless in the first half, Wilmont went 5-of-8 from the field including 2-of-3 from 3-point land during the decisive second half.
He was one of five Hoosiers to score in double figures and his 24 minutes helped pick up the slack with White on the bench, sophomore A.J. Ratliff departing the game with an ankle injury and only 15 other minutes coming from the bench players.
"I was telling Earl (Calloway) before the game that this was going to be a different type of game," said Wilmont. "Being here for four years has taught me every (conference) game is going to be tight. Every team is going to come out and play hard from Northwestern to Penn State. I knew it was going to be different.
"I went in knowing the team coming off the bench was going to need to come in and give a spark to (Robert) Vaden and Marco (Killingsworth), and just make a run. That's what I did tonight."
Wilmont provided more than points – he also filled an energy void that appeared lacking at times against the Wolverines. His two steals and subsequent dunks came when Indiana was struggling to take control of the game's tempo, and his two 3-pointers helped Indiana take control, at least temporarily.
"He was real big for us tonight," said Killingsworth. "I didn't expect him to play like that. He got some dunks and some threes and the energy he brought to the game was ridiculous."
His 24 minutes were Wilmont's most this season and his tenth straight game in double-digit minutes since sitting out the two exhibition games and the home opener for unspecified disciplinary reasons.
"Coach Davis has me out there because he knows I can shoot the ball," said Wilmont. "He tells me just to take good shots and he'll keep me in there. Tonight he told me we needed to make some stops, get some steals and make something happen and that's what I focused on. I just went out there looking to make something happen."
Wilmont Brings The Noise
Peegs.com Top Stories
It's Game DayIndiana takes the field today at noon in Evanston looking to get back on a winning track. Get up to speed on Northwestern and find the broadcast details.
Hoosier Newsstand, Oct. 22Get the latest articles on Indiana basketball, football and other sports in today's edition of the Hoosier Newsstand.
IU 12th in preseason coaches pollThe Indiana basketball team is ranked 12th in the USA Today Preseason Coaches Poll. Indiana is one of five Big Ten teams ranked and faces two top-six teams early in the non…
Peegs.comYesterday at 9:09 PM
Hoosier Hysteria scheduleIndiana’s annual Hoosier Hysteria event is Saturday night. Here are the details and the schedule for the event for the IU men's and women's basketball teams.
Peegs.comYesterday at 8:35 PM