MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Erik Stevenson returned to form Saturday afternoon inside the Coliseum. Over the course of 40 minutes of action, the senior guard ignited the home crowd and heated up right in front of their eyes en route to West Virginia’s first 30-point individual performance in almost two years.

Stevenson tallied a career-high 31 points, and knocked down a career-best seven 3-pointers, as he led WVU to an upset win over Number 15 Auburn.

He connected on 10 of his 17 total shot attempts, including making 7 of 10 from beyond the arc in what was easily his best performance in close to a month – if not longer.

Stevenson’s career day led WVU to its first win in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge since 2020. Maybe taking a break from Big 12 play was just what Stevenson needed.

“It was just going in like it was supposed to go in,” Stevenson said after the win. “[I’m] just blessed man. I’ve been, not in the dumps, but it’s been a long whatever it’s been – two, three weeks.”

Stevenson’s slump coincided with the start of league play, as West Virginia came off a nine-day break between games.

Through the non-conference portion of the Mountaineers’ schedule, Stevenson was shooting 52.5 percent from the floor and 46.6 percent from three-point range. But in the first eight Big 12 games of his career, his overall shooting percentage dropped to 31.5 percent, and his shooting clip from beyond the arc fell to below 20 percent.

Stevenson even went three-straight games without scoring more than nine points, something he hadn’t done since Dec. 5-14, 2021, when he was with South Carolina.

“To be honest, I’ve had a feel the whole year. I’ve just been in a Stevie slump,” he said. “I always get one of those. Every year it seems like it happens.”

The veteran guard credited his teammates for instilling confidence in him, saying they continued to tell him to shoot the ball during his slump. He said he had been shooting the ball well in practice and has been seen shooting it well on the court pre-game, though shots just haven’t been falling once the ball is tipped in the air at the start of the first half.

“It’s really been taking a toll on me because 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,” Stevenson added. “I ain’t going to lie, it’s really been hurting me, to be honest.”

As good a shooter as Stevenson has shown to be, he was bound to break out of his slump. So, maybe it was a coincidence that it came in West Virginia’s final regular-season contest against an opponent from outside the Big 12. Or, maybe there was an added bonus to breaking out against the nationally ranked Tigers.

“As he gleefully announced in the locker room after the game, his recruitment came down to Auburn and us,” said head coach Bob Huggins, who paused before saying, “So, he made the right choice.”

Quick Hits: Huggins talks Stevenson’s big game

Eighteen of Stevenson’s game-high 31 points came in the first half. He was seemingly hot from the start, hitting three of his first five shots to help WVU build up a double-digit lead. His teammates noticed his in-game shooting touch had returned and kept him involved. Despite playing hundreds of miles away from the Atlantic, Stevenson said he felt like he was “throwing the ball in the ocean.”

Stevenson wasn’t surprised by his performance against Auburn, nor the team’s win over the 15th-ranked Tigers. His head coach wasn’t surprised by the guard’s scoring output, either.

“It was a matter of time. It was a matter of time, added Huggins. “He’s put time in. He’s really worked at his mechanics.”

The Lacey, Washington native was the only Division I men’s basketball player in the country to tally at least 31 points against a Top 25 opponent on Saturday. He was the first Mountaineer since Miles “Deuce” McBride to reach the 30-point plateau in a single game.

According to ESPN Stats & Info, he became just the second West Virginia player over the last 25 years to score at least 30 points and make at least five threes in the same game, joining Da’Sean Butler in 2009.