No matter how good the outcomes, the brain of a college student after final exams can feel like an egg that's been left in the frying pan too long. Ohio State's players had that ready excuse - and the fact they play No. 1-ranked Connecticut on Monday - if they wanted to go through the motions against Alabama State. The Buckeyes, though, came out fired up and made the Hornets look overdone in coming away with a 118-61 victory before 4,469 on Friday night at Value City Arena. The point total was one shy of the Ohio State record.

No matter how good the outcomes, the brain of a college student after final exams can feel like an egg that's been left in the frying pan too long.

Ohio State's players had that ready excuse - and the fact they play No. 1-ranked Connecticut on Monday - if they wanted to go through the motions against Alabama State.

The Buckeyes, though, came out fired up and made the Hornets look overdone in coming away with a 118-61 victory before 4,469 on Friday night at Value City Arena. The point total was one shy of the Ohio State record.

Alabama State (1-7) is a struggling mid-major, but Ohio State (9-3) played with great purpose in forcing 31 turnovers and 31 percent shooting.

"That's something we talked about, that tonight had to be about us and us getting better,'' coach Kevin McGuff said. "We had to show some maturity and play hard and play together from the tip. I think we did a really good job at that.''

>>> Video: Kevin McGuff after the win

Forward Stephanie Mavunga had 23 points, 13 rebounds and six steals, guard Linnae Harper 15 points, five rebounds and one steal and guard Kelsey Mitchell 15 points, three rebounds and two steals.

Senior forward Shayla Cooper especially could have been in the dumps, as she was asked to come off the bench after starting the first 11 games. She finished with 13 points, five rebounds and two blocked shots.

"It was the coach's decision - whatever is best for the team,'' Cooper said. "It's about being more mature. It's not always about me. It's about the team.''

Mavunga said the break between semesters should help Ohio State, which is breaking in three transfers and three freshmen, speed up the bonding process. She played at North Carolina her first two years.

"It's a great feeling once you turn in that last final,'' she said. "You have no more excuses. You can't say, 'Oh, I'm going to be tired.' Now, you can focus on basketball for a little while. Today was really fun. Everyone had smiles on their faces.''

The Buckeyes got some scoot in their step when Cooper, Kiara Lewis and Harper checked into the game just inside the midway point of the first quarter. They turned up a pressure defense that started to get results, first with a shot-clock violation.

Cooper hit two free throws and a driving layup for a 19-7 lead with 2:54 left in the quarter. In rapid-fire order, Lewis had two deflections that resulted in Cooper feeding Harper and Lewis for layups to make it 24-8.

"Our pressure really bothered them,'' McGuff said. "We turned turnovers into points. We played a team that we're obviously better than, but we did the things that we needed to do.''

mznidar@dispatch.com

@MarkZnidar