Morgantown, West Virginia. (AP) — Eric Stephenson continues to work to get a better record as West Virginia clashes with the ranking team. Finally Saturday. Stevenson scored a career-high 31 points as the Mountaineers survived the final climb to take first place. 15. Auburn beat the Tigers 80-77 in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.
Stevenson made 10 of 17 shots, including seven 3-pointers. In his previous six games. he shot 18 of 67 (27%) from the floor, including 5 of 34 (15%) from beyond the arc.
Stevenson, a graduate transfer from South Carolina who is West Virginia’s leading scorer at 13.1 points per game, said it felt like he was “ shooting the ball in the ocean” on Saturday.
“It’s been a long two, three weeks,” he said, his voice cracking with emotion. “I’ve been shooting the ball well in practice. I’ve had good mental days. Then come game time, it hasn’t been dropping for me. It’s really been taking a toll on me. It’s my job to help the team in any way I can. They rely on me to score, and if I’m not scoring, it’s hurting the team. It’s really been hurting me, to be honest.”
Stevenson’s turnovers and defensive mistakes have at times landed him a seat on the bench near coach Bob Huggins. A few weeks ago, Huggins said he and Stevenson have a relationship where “I know he’s a little crazy, and he knows I might be crazier.” But Huggins said the player has become “ more coachable.”