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Colonial Life Arena - Columbia, SC

No. 2 Gamecocks defeat No. 6 Ohio State 88-80

2387 days ago
Associated Press
Photo: Todd Van Emst

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- A'ja Wilson had 20 points and 14 rebounds, Alaina Coates added 17 points and 13 rebounds and No. 2 South Carolina withstood Kelsey Mitchell's 36 points to beat No. 6 Ohio State 88-80 on Friday night.

The marquee matchup played out more like an NCAA tournament contest than a season opener. The Buckeyes held a 68-65 lead with 8:47 left on Mitchell's 3-pointer. That's when the Gamecocks' height in the 6-foot-4 Coates and 6-foot-5 Wilson took control.

The duo scored the Gamecocks' last 16 points and Coates twice blocked Shayla Cooper's close-in shots with Ohio State still in contention the final two minutes.

Tiffany Mitchell had 15 points for South Carolina.

Ameryst Alston had 23 points for Ohio State, which next faces No. 1 Connecticut on Monday. According to STATS.com, it's the first time since 2006-07 a team has played the top two ranked teams in consecutive games.

South Carolina gave out rings to players and coaches for last year's Final Four season, second straight SEC championship and program-record 34 wins, then raised banners commemorating the achievements.

The good times continued in the opening quarter as the Gamecocks ran out to a 21-7 lead over the first five minutes. Then South Carolina went cold, missing 13 straight shots during one stretch as the Buckeyes got back in it.

Alston hit a layup after stealing the ball from Tina Roy to give Ohio State its first lead, then nailed a long 3-pointer to send her team into the break ahead 47-45.

Ohio State's Mitchell got better of the Mitchell vs. Mitchell battle with South Carolina's Tiffany much of the way -- although it looked like the Gamecock senior would own it with her quick start.

Tiffany Mitchell, the two-time SEC player of the year, had seven points in game's first three minutes, then was held to one basket the rest of opening two quarters.

South Carolina's Mitchell got hot again late, tying the game at 55-all on a 3-pointer in third quarter.

Kelsey Mitchell, the country's leading scorer as a freshman last year, was 10-of-24 shooting against South Carolina.

Ohio State follows up their trip here with its home opener against three-time defending NCAA champion Connecticut. The last time that happened was nine years ago when North Carolina State fell to No. 1 Duke and No. 2 North Carolina in back-to-back contests.

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TIP INS

South Carolina: The Gamecocks led the country in fan support last year, averaging 12,293 people a game. That could even grow this year. South Carolina sold more than 11,000 season tickets to the 18,000-seat Colonial Life Arena. That surpassed the previous high set last year of 8,143 tickets sold. South Carolina drew 16,815 for this opener.

UP NEXT

South Carolina continues its opening weekend Sunday against UNC Greensboro