In the Gulf Coast Showcase this weekend in Estero, Florida, the No. 8 Ohio State Buckeyes toppled Florida Gulf Coast and No. 11 Syracuse before falling to No. 5 Baylor in the tournament’s championship game.
First Round: OSU 79 – Florida Gulf Coast 66
In its opening round contest against the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles, OSU couldn’t pull away until the second half. A back-and-forth first half saw the Buckeyes leading 18-16 after the first quarter and 36-35 at the half.
OSU outscored the Eagles 18-7 in the first 7:44 of the third quarter to build a 54-42 lead. In the final quarter, Florida Gulf Coast pulled within five at 56-51 with 7:58 on the clock, but the Buckeyes used an 11-0 run to take a 67-51 lead and put the game away.
OSU outrebounded the Eagles 52-31 and outscored them 38-16 in the paint. The Buckeyes shot 49.2 percent from the field, while the Eagles managed just 29.9 percent.
Junior guard Kelsey Mitchell led OSU with a game-high 25 points on 9-for-19 shooting. Senior forward Shayla Cooper put up 16 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Redshirt junior forward Stephanie Mavunga tallied her third double-double in her fourth ever game with OSU, putting up 13 points and 12 boards.
Redshirt junior guard Sydnei McCaskill and freshman forward Nasrin Ulel led Florida Gulf Coast with 13 points each.
Semifinals: OSU 77 – Syracuse 72
With the win against Florida Gulf Coast, the Buckeyes advanced to face No. 11 Syracuse in the semifinals.
After building an early 7-3 lead in the first 2:18 of the game, Syracuse scored the game’s next 11 points in a span of 1:49 to take a 14-7 lead. The Buckeyes then mounted an 11-1 run of their own and controlled the rest of the half, taking a 44-34 advantage into the break.
OSU held its largest lead, 15 points, with 8:50 remaining in the third quarter. The Orange stormed their way back to take a 62-60 lead with 7:37 remaining in the fourth quarter, but Mitchell then buried a pair of huge three-pointers to put the Buckeyes back up by a score of 66-62 with 6:31 remaining. OSU outscored Syracuse 11-10 the rest of the way to close out the victory.
OSU outrebounded the Orange 47-41 and held a 16-14 advantage in assists. The difference came in the paint, where the Buckeyes claimed a 32-16 edge. Mitchell led OSU with 24 points, and redshirt sophomore guard Sierra Calhoun added 19 points on 7-of-19 shooting. Mavunga put up 13 points and Cooper grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds.
Syracuse senior guard Alexis Peterson, a graduate of Northland High School in Columbus, tallied a game-high 29 points on 11-for-22 shooting and a 5-for-19 mark from the three-point line.
Championship: Baylor 85 – OSU 68
No. 5 Baylor met the Buckeyes in the championship game, and it was a mismatch from the beginning.
The Bears jumped on OSU early, scoring the game’s first nine points over the first 1:11. The Buckeyes managed to finish the opening quarter down only four points at 19-15, but Bears went ahead 29-17 with 7:39 left in the second quarter. OSU fought back once again to make it a 29-23 game in the middle of the quarter, but Baylor pushed back once again to take a 38-25 lead into the half.
With OSU needing a big push for a comeback, the Buckeyes and Bears played even for most of the second half. Baylor outscored OSU 24-21 in the third quarter and 23-22 in the final quarter.
For the third time in OSU’s three tournament games, Mitchell led the Buckeyes in scoring with 17 points. Calhoun and freshman guard Kiara Lewis scored 12 points each, and Cooper put up 11.
Baylor redshirt senior Alexis Jones led all scorers with 20 points, and the Bears had five players in double figures. Baylor shot 47 percent from the field, while OSU shot 34.4 percent.
Mitchell, along with freshman forward Tori McCoy, fouled out for the Buckeyes.
Following the weekend’s action, the Buckeyes are 5-2 on the year. OSU will return home to play the Miami Hurricanes as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Thursday. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center.