Coach Kevin McGuff said a renewed intensity allowed OSU to take control of the second half.
“We really attacked a lot better in the second half,” McGuff said. “We got more stops, more turnovers (that) allowed us to play in transition a little bit more, and overall generated more quality shots.”
The Buckeyes (5-4) opened the game with a 9-3 run in the first five minutes of the half. Winthrop (4-3, 1-0) rallied back, though, and score 10 unanswered points to take the lead. The Eagles continued to roll on a 14-2 run to take its largest lead of the game with the score at 17-11. OSU fought back and was able to retake the lead following an 11-4 run led by freshman guard Kelsey Mitchell. Both teams traded baskets until the end of the half as Winthrop took a 27-26 lead into halftime.
Mitchell scored 17 of OSU’s 26 points in the first half. As a team, the Buckeyes shot 42.9 percent from the field while Winthrop shot 40 percent, but OSU was out-rebounded by the Eagles, 19-12.
OSU took the lead at the beginning of the second half off a 3-pointer from junior guard Cait Craft. The Eagles tied the game on their next possession, but the Buckeyes went on an 18-7 run to take control.
Winthrop continued to push, though, and was able to cut the OSU lead down to five with less than 10 minutes to play. OSU closed the game out, tough, as they scored 12 unanswered points while forcing six turnovers over a seven-minute span.
Mitchell led all scorers with 26 points to go along with three rebounds, four assists and four steals. After a scoreless first half, junior guard Ameryst Alston bounced back with 12 points and five rebounds. Craft ended up with eight points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals.
Alston said the team came out in the second half with more energy compared to the first.
“I think we adjusted very well today,” Alston said. “I would say the first half, collectively, intensity could’ve been a little better but we stayed focused and picked it up the second half.”
Mitchell said the lack of team offense in the first half was just a case of things not turning out for the Buckeyes. She added that she trusts her teammates to be productive and saw more of that in the second half.
“I just think things didn’t go the way we wanted,” Mitchell said. “I know my teammates can make plays just like anybody else out here. For them to score like that in the second half was a great thing.”
OSU is next scheduled to play Arkansas State on Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center.