MORGANTOWN - There were times during West Virginia's 65-59 win at No. 13 Georgetown Saturday when Casey Mitchell looked like the best player on the floor.
That's not necessarily unusual for a guy who, in five games this season, has scored at least 25 points and ranks fourth in the Big East in scoring, averaging 17.9 points per game. Against the Hoyas, Mitchell scored 28, three points off his career high and his first real scoring explosion in more than five weeks.
But while those 28 points were huge - three times he scored all or most of the points in runs that erased Georgetown leads - it wasn't his scoring that was necessarily the most impressive part of his game.
Mitchell had just three rebounds - his season average - but two were offensive and all came in crucial spots. He blocked two shots and the second came on a drive down the lane by Chris Wright. He not only blocked the shot into the hands of John Flowers, but immediately got out and took a pass from Flowers and converted his own three-point play on the other end.
Mitchell was credited with just one steal, but it put an end to a 10-2 Georgetown lead midway through the second half when he grabbed a pass and streaked down the floor for another three-point play. That was the first of nine straight points Mitchell scored, the others coming on 3-point bombs within the next 70 seconds.
And a steal he didn't get credit for may have been the biggest. Georgetown turned the ball over three straight times at the end of the game and on the second - with 35 seconds to play and West Virginia leading by just three - he reached in to poke the ball out of Jason Clark's hands from behind as Clark drove the lane. Cam Thoroughman got credit for the steal for merely catching the ball, but it was Mitchell who did the damage.
Afterward, Mitchell seemed prouder of all those little things than he was with his 28-point offensive effort. And with good reason.
He had begun doing what coach Bob Huggins asked him to do.
"Coach talked to me and said I was too athletic not to be doing other things besides scoring,'' Mitchell said. "He told me to get in there and rebound, that I'm strong and athletic and I need to get in there and help. I need to play defense and get in there and just basically do things that people don't know I can do. So I took that to heart.''
Huggins remembers telling Mitchell something just slightly different than that he was too athletic not to be doing more.
"I think what I told him was he was too athletic to do nothing,'' Huggins said.
There have been times this season when Mitchell was almost a complete non-factor in West Virginia games. Yes, he had a four-game stretch in which he carried the Mountaineers early in the season, scoring 31, 27, 25 and 27 points against Vanderbilt, Minnesota, VMI and American.