COLUMBIA, S.C. – In a good back and forth game on opening night, the No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes fell 88-80 at No. 2 South Carolina Friday night at Colonial Life Arena.
USC’s Aja Wilson scored 12 points over the final 5:30 to help the hosts pull away down the stretch. All-American Kelsey Mitchell scored a game-high 36 points for the Buckeyes.
The Short Story
South Carolina fed of the great crowd early and raced out to a 25-10 lead with just over three minute left in the first quarter. The Buckeyes slowly chipped away at the lead and an Alston three-pointer from the wing gave the visitors a 47-45 lead at the break.
The second half wasn’t played as fast or as clean as the first. The Buckeyes led by as many as six points in the third quarter but South Carolina wouldn’t let the score get away. Gamecock Aja Wilson scored 12 of her team-high 20 points down the stretch in the fourth quarter to put the game away.
For the Buckeyes, the highest scoring duo in the country last year was at it again tonight. Kelsey Mitchell scored a game-high 36 points on 4-of-9 from deep. Ameryst Alston added 23 points and was 4-of-5 from long range. The Buckeyes were just lacking a third scorer.
South Carolina had four players in double-figures led by Wilson’s 20. She also grabbed 14 rebounds. Fellow post Alaina Coates added 17 points and 13 rebounds while Tiffany Mitchell finished with 15 points and Khadijah Sessions had 12 points and four steals.
The game was tied 78-78 with 2:20 to play and that’s when the USC defense stepped up. Coates had a pair of blocks which helped spring an 8-0 that swung the momentum in the favor of the Gamecocks.
Kelsey Mitchell (OSU) – 36 points, 3 blocks
Ameryst Alston (OSU) – 23 points, 4-of-5 from long range
Aja Wilson (USC) – 20 points, 14 rebounds
Alaina Coates (USC) – 17 points, 13 rebounds, 3 blocks
- The Buckeyes led 21-19 on the glass in the first half but South Carolina took over when it mattered down the stretch and won the battle for the game 51-42.
- That led to 21 second chance points for the Gamecocks compared to just eight for the Buckeyes.
- The Buckeyes were whistled for 29 fouls on the night
- Every player who got in the game was called for at least one foul
- South Carolina shot 35 free throws in the game compared to just 20 for the Buckeyes
Ohio State Individual Notes
- Kelsey Mitchell finished the night with a career-high three blocks in addition to her 36 points
- Shayla Cooper finished the night with a game-high 15 rebounds
- Redshirt-freshmen Kianna Holland and Makayla Waterman as well as true-freshman Theresa Ekhelar all made their collegiate debut tonight.
The Buckeyes will return home for their season-opener against top-ranked and three-time defending national champion UConn on Monday, Nov. 16. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. from Value City Arena. The game is the first game of ESPN’s 24-hour Hoops Marathon and will be televised on ESPN2.