Dec. 2, 2014
Setting The Scene
Ohio State returns home to host Pitt in the 2014 version of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Wednesday.
Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. from Value City Arena.
The Buckeyes (4-3) return home from a successful trip in the Virgin Islands where they went 2-1, including a double-overtime win over Florida Gulf Coast.
Pitt (4-2) is also coming into the game on a roll, winning four of its last five, including an 85-64 thumping of Michigan.
The game will be streamed live online for a fee on BTN Plus.
The game can also be heard on ESPN 1460 AM in the Columbus area and for FREE on www.OhioStateBuckeyes.com.
Last Time Out
Ohio State went 2-1 at the Paradise Jam in the US Virgin Islands over the Thanksgiving weekend.
The Buckeyes knocked-off Clemson in the opening game and then fell to Wichita State on Friday. Saturday's game was a thriller as Ohio State tied the game in the wanning seconds of both regulation and the first overtime against Florida Gulf Coast only to pull out a 90-83 victory in a second overtime.
Freshman Kelsey Mitchell was named to the All-Tournament team after leading the team in scoring in all three games and averaging over 26 points per contest.
Ameryst Alston also scored in double-figures all three games and came up big in the clutch. She scored five points in the final 25 seconds of regulation against FGCU to send the game into overtime and then she drove and found a wide-open Alexa Hart for a lay-in to even the score in the first overtime.
Hart finished the game against Florida Gulf Coast with 20 points and 18 rebounds, both season-highs. She also added four blocks in the win.
A Quick Look At Pitt
Like the Buckeyes, the Panthers have had a bit of an up and down start to the season.
Pitt opened with a tough loss to Princeton but has since won four of its last five games coming into Wednesday night's contest.
This will just Pitt's second road game of the year. It fell at James Madison on Nov. 23.
All-ACC guard Brianna Kiesel leads the scoring (16.2 ppg), assists (24), steals (12) and minutes played (32.5 mpg).
Monica Wignot is averaging over 11 points per game while Stasha Carey is nearly averaging a double-double with 10.8 points and 9.0 rebounds per game.
Series History vs. Pitt
Wednesday's game will be the 13th meeting between the two schools and the first with Pitt as a member of the ACC.
Ohio State holds a 10-2 edge in the series.
OSU has won the last six meetings but the teams have not played since a home-and-home series in 1997 and 1998.
The Buckeyes are a perfect 6-0 against Pitt in Columbus.
McGuff vs. Pitt
Head coach Kevin McGuff is 2-0 all-time against Pitt, winning against the Panthers in each of his first two seasons at Xavier.
Buckeyes In the Acc/Big Ten Challenge
Ohio State is 2-5 in the history of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, with the first three games coming against Top 10 competition.
In 2007 the Buckeyes lost at No. 3 Maryland before losing a close one at home in 2008 to No. 2 North Carolina.
Four years ago the Buckeyes led on the road at No. 10 Duke early in the second half before the Blue Devils pulled away for the victory.
In 2010 Ohio State picked up its first win, a 74-46 win over Virginia at St. John Arena, before defeating Florida State, 78-75, in overtime in 2012 when Tayler Hill poured in 31 points.
Last season, the Buckeyes went blow-for-blow with No. 8 Maryland before the Terrapins pulled awy late for a 65-57 victory.
Pitt is playing in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge for the first time.
Last Year In The ACC/Big Ten Challenge
Alyssa Thomas had 25 points and 12 rebounds, and No. 8 Maryland overcame a shaky first half to hold off Ohio State 67-55 Wednesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
The Terrapins led by only three points at the break before returning to make their first four shots as part of an 11-2 run that made it 40-28.
Ohio State closed to 56-53 with 2:58 left, but a 3-pointer by Lexie Brown, a layup by Brianna Moseley and two free throws by Alyssa Thomas ended the suspense.
Ameryst Alston scored 18, and Cait Craft and Matina Ellerbe had 11 apiece for the Buckeyes.
Buckeyes At A Glance
The Buckeyes returned from Thanksgiving Week at the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands with a 4-3 record overall after picking up a pair of wins down south.
The team is led by the best scoring back court in the country in freshman Kelsey Mitchell and junior Ameryst Alston. Mitchell is averaging 27.0 points per game and Alston isn't far behind at 24.0 points per game.
Alston has notched a pair of 30+ point games this season, including a career-high 39 points against St. Francis. She was named B1G Player of the Week on Nov. 17.
Mitchell scored at least 26 points in six of the first seven games this season and tied the school-record by going 14-of-14 from the free throw line in the win over Clemson. She was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week on Dec. 1.
Freshman Alexa Hart has shown why she was also a coveted recruit out of high school. She blocked a Big Ten leading 27 in the first seven games. She has also notched a pair of double-doubles on the year, including a 20-point, 18-rebound game in the double-overtime victory over Florida Gulf Coast.
Fellow freshman Asia Doss has started every game this season and leads the team in assists with 25 through the first seven games. At just 5-7, Doss is holding her own on the boards, grabbing over five rebounds per game.
The return of Kalpana Beach and Amy Scullion have helped bolster the team's presence inside. Beach missed the last two seasons with knee injuries and has started three games this season. She scored 12 points and grabbed nine rebounds against St. Francis.
Scullion joined the team in mid-November after enrolling in medical school at Ohio State this fall. She made her first appearance against VCU on Nov. 23, and is nearly five rebounds per game.
The team was crippled by injuries in the month of October as three players -- Mykala Waterman, Chelsea Mitchell and Kianna Holland -- all suffered ACL injuries and will miss the season.
Freshman Kelsey Mitchell is certainly showing why is was the top point guard in the class of 2015.
She has scored over 26 points in all but one game so far this season and is fourth in the country in scoring at 27.0 points per game.
So far this year, Mitchell has hit seven three-pointers in a game (Georgia), tied the school-record by going 14-of-14 from the free throw line (Clemson), scored 35 points (Clemson) and been named to the Big Ten Freshman of the Week (Dec. 1). Not bad for your first seven games.
Mitchell is also dishing out 3.4 assists per game and leads the team with 13 steals.
Alston Reaches 1,000 points
With a free throw against Wichita State on Nov. 28, junior Ameryst Alston recorded her 1,000th career point.
She became the 31st Buckeye to reach to 1,000-point plateau.
Alston scored 666 points last season as a sophomore which was the sixth-most points in a single-season in school-history.
Coming into the game against Pitt on Dec. 3, Alston had scored 1,035 career points which is tied for 28th all-time in school history.
Crazy 1-2 Punch
Guards Ameryst Alston and Kelsey Mitchell are one of the top-scoring combos not only in the Big Ten but in the country.
The tandem is averaging 51 points per game which is the best 1-2 scoring punch in the country.
Mitchell's 27.0 ppg is fourth in the country while Alston's 24.0 ppg is 11th in the country.
They have made 36 of the team's 51 three-pointers.
The duo is 89-of-109 from the free throw line for 82 percent.
They were a combined 27-of-29 from the charity stripe in the win over Clemson.