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Erik Stevenson drops 31 to help WVU upset No. 15 Auburn at home

The Mountaineers were able to hold off the Tigers in the Big 12-SEC challenge on Saturday.

Guard Erik Stevenson of the West Virginia Mountaineers shoots the ball during the second half of the college basketball game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders at United Supermarkets Arena on January 25, 2023 in Lubbock, Texas. Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images

It’s been an up-and-down season for Erik Stevenson and the West Virginia Mountaineers basketball program. It was almost down but WVU (13-8) was able to hold on to upset No. 15 Auburn (16-5) at home 80-77 on Saturday in the Big 12-SEC challenge. The Mountaineers almost blew a 16-point halftime lead. Stevenson, who has had a wild season, dropped 31 points to lead WVU to a big victory for their chances at an NCAA Tournament bid.

Jaylin Williams led the Tigers in points with 18. The Mountaineers were able to build a massive lead early in the first half thanks to Stevenson, who was almost spurned from the program due to some questionable decisions and attitude problems. This could be a turning point, both for Stevenson and the Mountaineers’ season. WVU improves to 13-8 on the season. The Mountaineers are still 2-6 in Big 12 play and have a lot of work to do, but this win helps their NCAA tournament chances in a big way.

As for Auburn, the Tigers dropped their second straight game. This isn’t an SEC game, so it doesn’t matter too much in the grand scheme of things. WVU is a top-25 team in terms of KenPom and rate pretty highly in most models. The Mountaineers were also favored by 4 points on DraftKings Sportsbook, so this loss isn’t all that surprising. The Tigers have a few big-time matchups against SEC opponents coming up, including No. 4 Tennessee and No. 2 Alabama.