Ohio State Opens B1G Play With a 85-80 Win Over No. 24 Michigan State

By Kevin Harrish on December 31, 2015 at 2:50 pm
Shayla Cooper led the way in the post with 17 points.

At the end of a high scoring affair, it was a defensive play locked-up the victory for the Buckeyes.

Senior Cait Craft took what ended up being a game-sealing charge on a pivotal Michigan State possession – shades of her older brother. Down 81-80, the Spartans had the ball with just over 30 seconds left to play, looking for the go-ahead bucket. They did not find it; Craft took the charge, the Buckeyes got the ball and after a few free throws, the 85-80 win.

The high score wouldn't indicate it, but Ohio State struggled mightily behind the arc. Normally a good three-point shooting team, shot a paltry 2-20 from behind the arc. Kelsey Mitchell and Ameryst Alston, typically stellar three-point shooters, managed just a combined 0-13. Still, they were the game's top scorers, combining for 48 points.

With the three-balls not falling, points in the paint and free-throws became vital. Thankfully for the Scarlet and Gray, Shayla Cooper again dominated down low. The junior scored 17 points and pulled down 10 rebounds recording yet another double double. At the line, the Buckeyes shot 27-34 led by Mitchell who shot 13-13.

The win is the team's second over a top-25 opponent on the season and improves its record to 9-3 – the only losses coming to the nation's top-three teams.

The schedule doesn't get any easier. Next up, the Buckeyes travel to face No. 6 Maryland January 2nd. The Terps will be the fourth 2015 Final Four team Buckeyes face on the season, after facing the other three in non-conference play.

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