Oct. 24, 2010
TUCSON, Ariz. - Sophomore Derrick Williams scored 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting as the Red team prevailed 39-38 over their Blue counterparts in front of 10,675 spectators during the annual Red-Blue scrimmage held Sunday afternoon in McKale Center.
The team scrimmage, head coach Sean Miller's second intrasquad event since he took over the reins in 2009, was transformed into an entertaining atmosphere with flame stanchions in the pre-game introductions and a first-ever Red-Blue dunk contest.
"I was very excited by the crowd and I don't want to use the word surprised because I never am surprised at the passion of our fan base," said Miller. "I want to thank everyone who came for the Red-Blue game....to have that many people at the football game last night and then the number of people that came to the game today was amazing."
Along with Williams, sophomores Lamont Jones and Kyryl Natyazhko and freshman Jordin Mayes were a few of the other standouts on the afternoon. Jones, playing for both Blue and Red teams, scored 11 points while Natyazhko had nine points and six rebounds. Mayes, a first-year player out of Los Angeles, recorded eight points and two assists.
After the Red team had led comfortably most of the way, the Blue team, led by Williams and Jones in the second half, spurred the Blue squad to a comeback. The rally was eventually thwarted however as Red dribbled out the clock for the win.
"I think we played a lot harder than last year," said Williams. "We had a lot more freshman last year, and we thought of it more as fans coming to watch our open gym. This year though it was more business-like; I think we are playing more as a team and just playing a lot harder."
Playing two 12-minute halves, Miller and his staff subbed players interchangeably at the half-way point. A few first-year players got their first taste playing in front of a McKale Center crowd with notables Jesse Perry and Daniel Bejarano tallying nine and three points, respectively.
In the dunk contest before the scrimmage, Brendon Lavender executed a cartwheel-backflip combination at half court before throwing down a tomahawk jam to win the five-man competition as the fans cheered with approval.
"I wanted to do something that would get the crowd on my side, and I think it worked," said Lavender. "The last time I did a back flip was two or three years ago on a trampoline. I think afterwards Coach Miller was more shocked than anything."
Before the game and at halftime, the Arizona men's wheelchair basketball team enthused those in attendance with its annual Red-Blue competition.
The Wildcats return to action with a home exhibition contest against Augustana College on Sunday, Nov. 7. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m. MST. For tickets, fans can call (520) 621-CATS or log on to www.arizonawildcats.com.