Morgantown, West Virginia – The West Virginia Mountaineers (13-8, 2-6) defeated the #15 ranked Auburn Tigers in front of a sold-out WVU Coliseum crowd yesterday. Following the game, Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl said it was a disappointing loss, complimented the West Virginia crowd and said that his team missed out on a very big opportunity.
“It was a disappointing loss,” Pearl said. “We battled back from being down 16 points in the second half, but during the last four minutes, we didn’t get the defensive stops that we had gotten throughout the second half. I thought we did a really good job of guarding Erik Stevenson, but he was at his best game tonight. He’s always played well against us and that is why we tried to recruit him.
West Virginia is in the mid-twenties in the NET rankings and so this was a real prize that we missed,” Pearl said. “It was a disappointing loss, but in some ways we made some progress. We had won the last three road games and we had a real chance to win four in a row. I’m proud of our guys for playing hard in a tough environment.”
The Mountaineers greatly improved their chances of playing in the NCAA Tournament with the win. West Virginia has a tough remaining schedule with only ten games remaining and they probably need to win at least 5-7 of those games to get to 18-20 wins on the season. With games upcoming against ranked teams like TCU, Iowa State, Texas, Baylor, Kansas and Kansas State still remaining, that will be no easy task.
West Virginia is back in action on Tuesday, January 31 at 9:00PM against the #11 ranked TCU Horned Frogs in Fort Worth, Texas.