Alston scores 39 and No. 5 Ohio St routs Illinois 117-74
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Ameryst Alston and Kelsey Mitchell were too much for the Illini.
Alston had 39 points and Mitchell was right behind with 35 and No. 5 Ohio State routed Illinois 117-74 on Sunday.
Mitchell made 11 of 14 field goal attempts, including 8 of 9 from 3-point range before sitting out the final quarter. Alston, a senior playing her final game at home, shot 15 for 24. She had five of the Buckeyes' 16 3-pointers.
''I think we were really dialed in,'' Alston said. ''Maybe it was because it was Senior Night. I feel like that's how the game should be. Make it fun. Everyone scoring, it becomes contagious.''
Ohio State (23-4, 15-1 Big Ten) set a record for points at Value City Arena, and came up two points short of equaling the program record of 119 points in a game set against Idaho State on Dec. 11, 1994. The arena record was 113 points set Nov. 16, 2014, against St. Francis (Pa.).
Alston had a chance to give the Buckeyes 120 and tie Ohio State's single-game scoring record for an individual (42, shared by Mitchell and Samantha Prahalis) but missed a 3-point attempt with less than two minutes to play and the shot clock running down.
''My teammates were just yelling, `Shoot it!''' she said, unaware of the history at stake.
Alex Wittinger led Illinois (9-18, 2-14) with 21 points and Kyley Simmons and Sarah Hartwell had 10 apiece.
''Obviously today's game is everything, but I don't remember a game where any team was ever any better offensively than what I saw today and I've been doing this 19 years,'' Illinois coach Matt Bollant said. ''That's as good a performance as I have seen.''
Ohio State made 7 of 10 3-pointers in the first quarter while building a 37-24 lead it stretched to 67-40 by halftime.
The Buckeyes finished 42 for 68 (62 percent) from the field and 16 for 29 from 3-point range.
''We played with great pace, we shared the ball, we shot it well,'' Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff said. ''We were extremely efficient. There's not much more I could ask for in terms of how our offense went today.''
Illinois: The Fighting Illini lost for the ninth time in 10 games.
Ohio State: Joining Alston in being honored during Senior Day festivities were guard Cait Craft and forward Kalpana Beach.
Beach entered to a loud ovation with 5:24 left in the second quarter, her first game action since Dec. 18. She finished with six points in 12 minutes. Beach started 30 games as a freshman in 2011-12 but recurring knee problems have limited her to only 14 games since.
''I think it's gonna be more awkward for my parents,'' Craft said when asked about playing her last home game at Ohio State two years after her brother, Aaron, completed his career in scarlet and gray. ''They've been coming down here for six years faithfully. I think they're gonna be a little bit bored honestly. I don't know what they're gonna do. I mean it's sad to me but I couldn't have gone out any better way and I remember Aaron's Senior Night and he felt the same way.''
Ohio State equaled its highest-scoring Big Ten game in program history. The Buckeyes won 117-64 at Minnesota in 1996.
Illinois plays host to Michigan State on Wednesday night.
Ohio State plays at Minnesota on Wednesday night.