MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- What preceded the best moment thus far this season for West Virginia was quite likely its worst.
Before the Mountaineers traveled to Washington, D.C., where Saturday they beat No. 13 Georgetown 65-59, they practiced on campus and were, according to Coach Bob Huggins, "awful."
"If it wasn't the worst I've ever been associated with," Huggins said, "it's close."
Huggins admitted weeks ago he was tired of his team's lacking attitude and slacking practice habits. He'd long been out of patience and had to wonder if he was running out of time.
So WVU retreated to the film room and players were asked if they would - or could - finally make the changes Huggins had been requesting.
"We talked about who's going to take ownership," Huggins said. "I think I'm going to be back next year. A lot of them won't. You better take ownership. I think we had a lot more of that going on."
The Mountaineers responded with a uniquely united effort that, not coincidentally, helped them reach highs, handle lows and control the finish against a ranked team playing on its home court.
"I think if you take any individual away from our team in this game, it wouldn't have been the same," forward Kevin Jones said. "That's because we had a collective team effort."
Five of the eight who played had at least two assists. Deniz Kilicli had one in 12 minutes. Dan Jennings played only four minutes and was curiously deprived of an assist when he rebounded his own missed free throw and, rather than force up a shot, handed the ball to Casey Mitchell for a layup.
"We shared the ball better than we've shared the ball all year," Huggins said. "We passed up an open shot to get a better one."
That, as much as anything else, was indicative of what the Mountaineers were attempting to do and what they believed was the difference.
"We played as a team and we had a lot of energy," Mitchell said. "We didn't care who scored. We wanted to score as a team. It didn't matter if one person had all the points, one person had all the rebounds. We wanted to play with energy and play as hard as we could.
"Before, we weren't making it fun. We were out there playing just to play. We were trying to win, but it wasn't fun. (Saturday) we passed the ball to the open guy.
"If you don't get the shot, go get the rebound. As long as everyone's happy, we're good."