MORGANTOWN, W.Va – For the first time in nearly a month, Tre Mitchell made his presence known inside for the Mountaineers.
The senior forward helped power WVU to a much need win over Oklahoma State on Monday night. He tallied a season-high 22 points.
What impressed head coach Bob Huggins the most was Mitchell’s versatility.
“He can step out on the floor and make shots. He can play in the post. They put a smaller guy on him because he can make shots on the perimeter, then he took them inside and scored inside,” Huggins said. “I thought without a question that was his best overall performance.”
Mitchell went 8-for-15 from the floor and 6-for-7 from the foul line. He also had one of the top highlights of the game with a monster one-hand slam in the second half.
It marked his first double-figure scoring performance since putting up 15 points in Fort Worth back on Jan. 31.
“It takes a bit of a toll mentally because I want to be able to be out there and perform for my team and my guys,” Mitchell said. “The reality of it is I just stayed the course, stayed in the gym and kept working. The work is bound to show over time. I’m not going to abandon my work ethic. I’m just going to keep going and I think it will show down the stretch.”
While it did show in a big way offensively against the Cowboys, Huggins thought Mitchell did an even better job on the other end of the floor. He even went as far to say that’s the best he’s ever seen the big man play.
“I thought he moved his feet today better than I’ve ever seen him move his feet,” Huggins said. “I’m really proud of how hard he’s worked and how far he’s come because defensively, I don’t think he could even spell it when he first got her. He just didn’t know anything about defense.”
Mitchell was even involved in a little bit of the scuffle late in the game. After he missed a jumper, he tried to grab his own rebound and as he was fighting for the ball, OSU’s Kalib Boone was trying to snag the loose ball. In the process, a scuffle broke out on the floor.
“It was just two competitive guys going after the basketball. I felt like I got hit some type of way, but it is what it is. You saw at the end of it we both stood up, made sure we were good. It’s just competitiveness,” Mitchell said.
Both Mitchell and Boone were issued a technical foul but a Cowboy came off the bench and ran to the scrum, resulting in an ejection. Since the technicals canceled out and Boone was also issued a personal, Mitchell went to the line and made both free throws after.
It seems like the Pittsburgh native got some confidence back after his second 20-point performance of the year but he said that’s something that he never lost over the shooting slump. He believed his game would speak for itself and it did on Monday night.
“He’s a guy who maybe can and should have a career in basketball,” Huggins said. “He’s moving in the direction he needs to move to be able to do that. When he got here he wasn’t doing that.”
In the first meeting with Kansas, Mitchell led the Mountaineers in scoring with 15 points. The two teams meet in Lawrence on Saturday at 4 p.m. on ESPN.