It only lasted 15 minutes, but the Western basketball team unveiled its new strategy.
Run as much as possible.
The Hilltoppers opened the preseason with Midnight Madness on Friday night, which culminated with a 15-minute intra-squad scrimmage.
After activities such as a three-point contest and dunk contest, new coach Darrin Horn let his team start scrimmaging just as the clock struck midnight.
It wasn’t always pretty, but the desired tempo was obvious.
The Toppers ran until they couldn’t run anymore, but by the time the season arrives, Horn hopes they will be able to run without needing to stop.
Horn said that how the team played doesn’t matter, but that he is ready to get practices started.
“Head coaches don’t pay much attention to these (scrimmages),” he said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do.”
Sophomore point guard Danny Rumph said it felt good to start practice.
“I liked it a lot,” he said. “Being more up-tempo is going to fit us, and we can have fun with the offense.”
The White team beat the Red 26-24 with senior Todor Pandov hitting the game-winning runner in the lane. The White team was led by Rumph, Pandov, sophomores Kevin Massiah, Elgrace Wilborn and Anthony Winchester, freshman Ryan Lambert and junior Kalin Holland.
The Red team featured freshmen Nick Hill and Josh Higgins, sophomore Jamaal Brown, junior Antonio Haynes and seniors Mike Wells and Nigel Dixon.
Pandov led all scorers with 12 points, while Wilbourn threw in six points and Rumph four. Wells scored six to pace the White squad.
“The style of play will be a lot different,” Brown said. “It is nice to get out here, and we’re going to get a lot better.”
It was the first time Topper basketball fans have seen Pandov since he fell to the ground against Arizona in last season’s opener. He missed the rest of the season after knee surgery to repair torn ligaments.
“It’s been a long time,” Pandov said. “I want to show them I’ve been working.”
Before basketball there was a game of Big Red’s Balloon Pop and a “Hilltopper Idol” competition.
Holland and a duet by Winchester and Hill were beaten by Louisville junior Allison Moore.
Horn, assistant coach Archie Miller and graduate assistant David Boyden lost to a group of Western students in a 3-on-3 game before the Topper players started their three-point contest and dunk contest.
Reach Danny Schoenbaechler at [email protected]