Casey Mitchell again led the Mountaineers in scoring, totaling 18 points on the night, but it wasn't so much that fact as the timing of his points that helped him nab top performance honors. Mitchell scored eight of WVU's first ten points of the game and had another five straight midway through the first half to help West Virginia avoid the bad start that doomed it to a loss in its previous game against Marquette. Scoring 13 of WVU's first 19 points, Mitchell sparked solid early play to keep the Mountaineers on top throughout the first half.
Mitchell had a solid all-around game, avoiding the turnovers and other miscues that have limited his playing time in recent games. He grabbed four rebounds and added three assists and a block against just one turnover.
For the game, Mitchell made seven of his 13 attempts, including three of seven from 3-point range.
John Flowers had just three points in the game, but his presence on the court was felt at several key junctures. After playing just more than 20 minutes per game in his last two outings, Flowers put in 29 minutes against the Blue Demons, grabbing six rebounds, dishing out five assists and blocking two shots. The last of those rejections was huge, as he came down the lane to reject what appeared to be a wide open shot in the lane by DePaul's Tony Freeland with just more than two minutes to play.
The good-and-bad, up and down nature of West Virginia's play continues to be the story of the season. West Virginia plays long stretches where it protects the ball and plays well, then it uncorks stretches, as it did in both halves, where it turned the ball over four times in five possessions and allows foes several extra scoring chances.
Darryl Bryant's play down the stretch was the epitome of the highs and lows of West Virginia's night. With the score tied 63-all, Bryant drove the lane and scored while being fouled, then hit the free throw to put WVU up by three. On DePaul's ensuing possession, Bryant slid to the baseline and took a charge from Brandon Young, giving the ball back to the Mountaineers and apparently putting them in control with 1:06 to play. However, Bryant promptly turned the ball over, then forced up a shot on WVU's next possession to give the Blue Demons a chance to win the game. Fortunately, Young's open jumper clanked off the front of the rim.
For the second consecutive game, Deniz Kilicli came alive with a scoring spurt that helped the Mountaineers gain control of the contest. The big Turk scored six consecutive points late in the first half to push WVU out to a five-point lead, and he capped that effort with another sweeping left hand hook to open the second half and reestablish West Virginia's inside game.
In all, Kilicli scored 14 points on 7-8 shooting, and again exhibited good decision-making in the post. He passed the ball out when double-teamed or when a good shot wasn't possible, earning two assists along the way. He also picked up four rebounds and a steal in 22 minutes of action.