WVU dismisses Tigers 80-77 in Big 12-SEC Challenge

Morgantown hosted the Big 12-SEC Challenge between Auburn and West Virginia and was the home team to emerge victorious, winning 80-77.

West Virginia jumped out to lead 10-3 within the first five minutes of the game.

Erik Stevenson was fouled on a fast break to stop the drive, but didn’t go away empty-handed, hitting a deep three on his defender to finish the possession.

Three more by Stevenson gave the Mountaineers a 23-12 lead with just under 10 remaining.

A steal on the defensive end and layup by Joe Toussaint increased WVU’s lead to a night high to 12, with six to play in the first.

With the shot clock up and two defenders draped over him, Stevenson hit his third three of the half, extending the lead to 15.

On what looked like the last possession of the game, Joe Toussaint came up with a huge hustle play to punt the ball to Emmett Matthews, who then found Okonkwo for the go-1 on a sweet pass to put West Virginia ahead of 16.

The half ended with WVU ahead 45-29.

It was all Erik Stevenson in the first half, scoring 18 points on 6-9 shooting, including 3-4 from three-point range.

The Mountaineers pushed the lead up to 17 to start the half, but gave it up immediately, allowing Auburn to creep into single digits. A three-pointer by Stevenson after five minutes of play pushed the lead back to 12.

Two minutes later, he was down to seven, but Toussaint found Bell under the basket for the and-1 to bring it to ten.

At the ten-minute mark, Auburn were within five and a fast break made it look like it was going to be a single possession game, but Erik Stevenson made a charge to get the ball back. Toussaint then hit a three at the other end. Auburn answered with a three of his own, but Stevenson also hit one from deep on his next possession.

With six minutes left, James Okonkwo put up a huge block, but Auburn ended possession at the free throw line to get back within four. A minute later, the Mountaineers led by just one.

Stevenson came out huge once again with a three-pointer to drive back the Tigers. Then, with two minutes to go and only one up, he did it again, this time fading into the corner.

A missed free throw with under a minute left allowed Auburn to hit a three to go within a three. They then got a steal on their drive, but were unable to score.

The game came down to the final seconds on missed free throws by WVU, but they were able to seal the win, 80-77. Erik Stevenson finished the game with a season-high 31 points, on 7/10 from three points.

The Mountaineers will next face a tough TCU team whose latest loss came in Morgantown on Tuesday, Jan. 31.

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