Shorthanded Buckeyes Overcome Adversity to Register Road Win in Morgantown
By John Porentas
Going on the road and getting a win is tough.
Going on the road and getting a win when illnesses reduce your roster to just eight players is really tough.
That's exactly what confronted the Buckeyes (1-0) yet they came away with a hard-earned 70-61 victory over West Virginia (0-1) in Morgantown.
It was a satisfying win for first-year OSU Head Coach Kevin McGuff who got his first win as the Buckeye head man. He was happy not just with the win, but with what his team was able to overcome to get that win.
"That's what I'm most proud of.
"I think at first we were a little taken aback but once we quit worrying about what we didn't have but rather what we did have, the fact that if we go out there and compete for 40 minutes, then we're going to give ourselves a chance to win. That was the best thing about tonight.
"We played hard. We competed. We faced some adversity but we fought right through it and we stayed together as a team. We came here and we beat a really good team on the road, and that's not easy to do."
They got it done. but it wasn't easy.
The bigger Mountaineers battered the Buckeyes on the glass, outrebounding them 53-36. The rebounding carnage was especially evident at the offensive end where the Mountaineers collected 22 offensive boards to just 3 for OSU. The Buckeyes countered with superior guard play, particularly from Ameryst Alston who scored a game-high 29 points.
Photo by Jim Davidson
"Before the game I grabbed her in the hall and told her 'Don't pass up a shot,' said McGuff.
"With the kids we had out she was going to have to have a big night. She was really dangerous off the dribble. She did a great job."
Alston's scoring outburst came much to the chagrin of West Virginia Head Coach Mike Carey.
"It's unbelievable. We turned sideways and let her drive all the way to the block and then power up over the top of us.
"We tried different things. We tried to put bigger guards on her, we tried to come over and trap her, that type of stuff. When we did, good things happened, but we weren't consistent and we didn't stay focused on that. Give here credit. She had a great game, great game."
Alston was aided by Cait Craft, who scored a career-high 15 points and Martina Ellerbe who added 12.
"Give Ohio State credit. They executed better than we did," said Carey.
"They shot the ball better than we did and they shot foul shots better than we did. We made 2 for 20 from three, missed 11 foul shots and turned the ball over 16 times."
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