Alston, Ferguson Lead Buckeyes Past Illinois, 90-64
Ameryst Alston scored a career-high 31 points vs. Illinois.
Jan. 30, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ameryst Alston recorded career highs with 31 points and 10 assists and Raven Ferguson continued her stellar play off the bench with a career-high 24 points as the Buckeyes posted a 90-64 win over visiting Illinois Thursday evening at Value City Arena.
It was Alston's first career double-double and marked the first 10-assist game by a Buckeye since Samantha Prahalis on Dec. 30, 2011. Alston was 9 of 13 from the field and 11 of 12 from the line. Ferguson was equally impressive, hitting 7 of 11 and 8 of 10 from the stripe to go along with four assists.
Ferguson has been on a tear of late off the bench and is making a strong claim for Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year honors. She is averaging 15.5 points over the last five games while shooting 55 percent from the field.
The Buckeyes, however, were slow out of the gates and fell behind, 16-5, in the first 5 minutes. The Illini hit four quick 3-pointers to help build their early advantage.
But Ohio State took control from that point. Trailing 19-12, Alston scored the game's next nine points, followed by two Ferguson free throws, to take a 23-19 lead. The Buckeyes led by three, 35-32, with 3:40 left in the half and then finished the half strong with a 12-3 run the rest of the way to lead 47-35 at the break.
The 47 first-half points were the second most for the Buckeyes this season.
The second half was all Ohio State as the Buckeyes shot 61 percent from the field. The Illini would mount a small run midway through the second half behind Amber Moore (20 points) and Jacqui Grant (23), but never pulled closer than 11 points the rest of the way.
Ashley Adams also was strong again off the bench with 15 points on a perfect 7 of 7 from the field. Martina Ellerbe scored 12 points and grabbed a game-high nine rebounds while classmate Darryce Moore scored eight.
The win moves the Buckeyes to 14-10 overall and 4-4 in league play heading into Sunday's game at Wisconsin (9-11, 2-6), who fell at Michigan State tonight, 71-67. Tip is set for 3 p.m. ET at the Kohl Center in Madison.
Courtside With Marty Bannister