Ohio State smothers Buffalo to advance in NCAA Tournament

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 6:15 p.m. ET

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Kelsey Mitchell scored 27 points to help Ohio State rout Buffalo 88-69 on Friday in a first round game of the women's NCAA Tournament.

Buffalo, which got an automatic tournament bid by winning the Mid-American Conference Tournament, struggled against the larger, sturdier Buckeyes, who move onto the second round Sunday against West Virginia.

The Buckeyes, ranked as high as No. 5 nationally this season, had to rebound after a late-season swoon that saw them lose three of their last four games and their second best player, senior guard Ameryst Alston, to a wrist injury in the Big Ten Tournament.

Alston didn't play at all Friday, but the Buckeyes (25-7) hardly needed her against overwhelmed Buffalo (20-14), which rushed out a five-point lead but soon was swamped. OSU led 48-23 at the half, capping it with a nifty behind-the-back pass from Asia Doss to Makayla Waterman, who laid it in. OSU led by as many as 34 in the second half.

Shayla Cooper contributed 17 points for the Buckeyes, including 4 out of 5 from the foul line. Doss chipped in 16 more.