No. 6 Ohio State leaves Columbia, South Carolina with an 88-80 loss to the No. 2 Gamecocks.
Initially, it looked as though the Buckeyes might get run out of the gym. South Carolina jumped out to a 25-10 lead early in the first and all signs pointed to a Gamecock route.
But the Buckeyes battled back. The team hit seven three-pointers in the first half to take a 47-45 halftime lead.
In the second half, South Carolina's size and physicality proved to be the difference. The Gamecocks out-rebounded the Buckeyes 51-42, and shot 35 free throws to OSU's 12.
A bright spot for the Buckeyes – Kelsey Mitchell picked up right where she left off last season. The reigning National Freshman of the Year lead all scorers with 36 points, playing all but two-minutes. She looked every bit the Player of the Year candidate she was expected to be.
It's not the result the Buckeyes wanted, but a hard-fought loss to the nation's No. 2 team in early November is far from detrimental. Ohio State head coach Kevin McGuff hopes the loss will actually help his team.
"Hopefully it will give us a little belief," said McGuff. "We played toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in the country."
The Buckeyes don't have much time to digest the loss – No. 1 Connecticut comes to Columbus, Monday night for the team's home opener. That's now where the team's focus lies.
"If we can take the things we didn't do well, get better, then apply it to Monday night, then we're going to take a stab at the No. 1 team in the country," said McGuff.