No. 5 Buckeyes Shoot Past Huskers 96-70

 

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) No. 5 Ohio State was so hot to start the game that Ameryst Alston couldn't explain it.

''I don't know. It was just contagious I guess,'' the OSU senior said.

Five players scored in double figures and the Buckeyes (22-4, 14-1 Big Ten) shot 54 percent from 3-point range while routing Nebraska 96-70.

Alston finished with 16 points and a pair of 3-pointers. Fellow guard Kelsey Mitchell also scored 16 while hitting 5 of 11 from long range, but the Ohio State frontcourt did plenty of damage, too.

Center Alexa Hart had 18 points and nine rebounds while forward Shayla Cooper came off the bench to post her eighth double-double of the season with 16 points and 11 boards.

Guard Asia Doss rounded out Ohio State's balanced scoring effort with 13 points on 6-for-9 shooting.

''When they're shooting the way they did tonight, I don't know how you're going to stop them,'' Nebraska coach Connie Yori said.

''I think Ohio State is every bit as good as I thought they would be,'' she said. ''Their ability to score in bunches is off the charts. We're not a great defensive team and when those two forces hit they're going to get into the 90s or more, so they're just really hard to guard.''

Jessica Shepard led Nebraska (17-9, 8-7) with 20 points and eight rebounds.

Ohio State dominated the first half, taking a 50-34 lead into the locker room thanks to Mitchell's 3-pointer just before the buzzer.

The Buckeyes shot 58 percent in the first quarter and 55 percent for the half (21 for 38), including 7 for 14 from long range.

They outscored the visitors 23-12 in the third quarter to expand their lead to 73-46.

''I think with our team you have to guard each and every one of us,'' Alston said. ''I don't think we have just one player or two players. One through five you have to guard us, so when we attack it creates opportunities for us to get open shots.''

Ohio State extended its winning streak to 10 games. It maintained its one-game lead in the Big Ten standings over No. 6 Maryland, a 76-56 winner against Michigan on Wednesday night.

TIP-INS

Nebraska: The Cornhuskers were coming off a 73-66 win over then-No. 17 Michigan State on Sunday that snapped a two-game losing streak.

Ohio State: Alston was recognized prior to the game for becoming the sixth player in program history to score more than 2,000 points. She reached that milestone during a 98-81 win at Iowa a week earlier. With 2,048 career points, she is fourth in school history.

DIALING LONG DISTANCE

Ohio State never cooled off from 3-point range, finishing the game making 13 of 24. They entered shooting 36 percent on the season.

FAMILY AFFAIR

Chelsea Mitchell, Kelsey's sister, scored a career-high eight points in eight minutes off the bench for the Buckeyes.

QUOTABLE

''I thought (Ohio State) might be the best team in the Big Ten heading into the season and it's playing out that way,'' Yori said. ''Although I know them and Maryland are neck and neck to win this league. I know that both teams are outstanding, but it doesn't surprise me they are where they are in the standings.''

UP NEXT

Nebraska hosts Purdue on Sunday afternoon.

Ohio State hosts Illinois on Sunday afternoon.

Ohio State Individual Notes

  • Shayla Cooper scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for her team-leading eighth double-double of the year.
  • Cooper was 2-of-3 and has now made 13 of her last 19 from long range.
  • Alexa Hart was 8-of-10 from floor and finished with 18 points, nine rebounds and three blocks.
  • Hart has scored in double-figures in each of the last 14 games.
  • Hart came into the game shooting 64.6 percent and was third in the country.
  • Hart has blocked three or more shots in five of the last six games.
  • Asia Doss scored 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting. It was her seventh game this season of 10 or more points.
  • Doss also swiped a game-high four steals giving her nine steals in the last two games.
  • Cait Craft dished-out a game-high six assists. It was her most assists this season since dishing nine in the win over Belmont on Nov. 19, 2015.
  • Kelsey Mitchell’s had 16 points on 5-of-11 from long range. It was her seventh game this season with five or more three-point field goals.
  • Chelsea Mitchell scored a season-high eight points and connected on both of her three-point attempts.

Ohio State Team Notes

  • The Buckeyes have won 10-straight games for the first time since 2012.
  • Ohio State shot 52.4 percent from the floor, marking its 13th game this season over the 50 percent mark.
  • Ohio State made 13 three-point field goals for the second-straight game and have now made 72 three-pointers in the last seven games.
  • OSU made 54.2 percent of its shots from behind the arc which was just its fifth game this season above 50 percent from long range.
  • The Buckeyes won the battle on the boards 43-38 and are now 9-0 on the season when they out-rebound the opponent.
  • The Buckeyes have topped the 90-point mark 12 times this season and are now 12-0 in those games.
  • Ohio State held the nation’s leader in three-point field goals Natalie Romeo to just 1-of-6 from behind the arc.
  • The team has made a three-pointer in 103-straight games dating back to 2013.