Casey Mitchell has become West Virginia's most consistent scoring threat in the early part of the season, and the senior filled that role again in WVU's 74-70 loss to Minnesota. Mitchell hit his first seven shots en route to 18 first half points and finished with 27. No other Mountaineer scored in double figures.
Mitchell was 10-20 from the field, including a 4-9 mark from 3-point range, and made all three of his free throws. He also had two rebounds, an assist and a steal in 35 minutes of action.
Scoring 16 of WVU's first 20 points, the junior college transfer staked WVU to an early lead. He also scored four points in the late stages of the contest to help keep West Virginia in striking distance down the stretch.
Noreen battled hard when inserted into the game, and his presence and energetic play seemed to spark the Mountaineers, who had fallen behind by eight points and were in danger of being engulfed by the inside play of Minnesota's front court. Although he committed three fouls in his time on the floor, his energy gave WVU a lift when it needed it the most.
WVU fot off to a bad start at the line, making just one of five in the opening half, and that malaise seemed to carry over into the second period. Mitchell (3-3) and Jonnie West (2-2) were the only players to go unblemished at the line.
Jones inability to stay out of foul trouble loomed larger for a Mountaineer team trying to forge a comeback. After scoring five points in the early going of the second half, he made another lengthy trip to the bench after picking up his fourth foul.
In order to West Virginia to be at its best, Jones has to be on the floor, not holding down a student assistant coaching spot on the bench. He finished the game with nine points and five rebounds in 18 minutes. Push those out to his normal 32 minutes of action, and it might have been enough to spell the difference in the game.