Buckeyes Win Fourth-Straight, Down Spartans 76-62
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COLUMBUS, Ohio - It wasn't Ohio State's best shooting night but the Buckeyes picked-up defensively in the second half and pulled away from Michigan State Monday for a 76-62 victory.
The Buckeyes (15-7, 7-3) shot just 38 percent but defensively, they held Michigan State to its second-worst shooting night of the year (29.4 percent) and turned around a one-point deficit early in the second half for its fourth-straight victory.
Freshman Kelsey Mitchell, the nation's leading scorer, was one of the Buckeyes who struggled to find her shot. But at the urging of her teammates she kept shooting and finished with a game-high 31 points and six three-point field goals. It was Mitchell's sixth game this season with 30 or more points.
Junior Ameryst Alston was 0-of-6 in the first half but find her groove in the second half. Alston canned six of her 10 attempts from the floor in the second 20 minutes and finished with 19 points. She also tied a season-high with six assists.
Freshman Asia Doss chipped-in with five assists as the Buckeyes assisted on 20 of their 26 field goals in the game. Between Alston and Doss, the duo had 11 assists and just one turnover.
Inside, freshman Alexa Hart grabbed 13 rebounds to go along with eight points. It was Hart's fourth-straight game of 10 or more rebounds. She also blocked five shots, passing Jessica Davenport's OSU freshman record of 80 blocked shots in a season.
For Michigan State (11-11, 3-8), the nation's leader in double-doubles Aeriel Powers had another on Monday as she scored 25 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. She was 5-of-11 shooting and had 17 points in the first half but was limited to just 2-of-12 in the second half.
Both teams struggled to get things going in the first half. The Buckeyes shot just 31 percent in the opening 20 minutes while Michigan State could muster just 33 percent. Ohio State had as much as a six-point lead after a five-point burst from Mitchell. But OSU missed its next four shots and added a turnover to allowed MSU to go on a 7-0 run and the cushion was short lived.
Mitchell ended a tough shooting half with a baseline jumper and the Buckeyes lead 30-29 at the break. Mitchell was 5-of-15 in the first half and had 13 points.
Michigan State came out of the locker room and took a 34-33 lead just two minutes into the second half. But the Buckeyes broke the game open with an 11-0 run over the next three minutes. Alston (6) and Mitchell (5) scored all 11 points during the spurt while Michigan State was 0-of-3 and had three turnovers.
Another 13-4 run later in the half gave the Buckeyes 61-44 edge and they were able to cruise the rest of the way.