Ohio State took its first loss of the season Wednesday night at the hands of visiting Syracuse in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. Perhaps more concerning, the Buckeyes lost freshman guard Luther Muhammad near the end of the game to what coach Chris Holtmann said afterward was a dislocated shoulder.
Let’s take a look at what lineups the Buckeyes used against the Orange and how they might have to replace Muhammad should he miss time with the injury. Ohio State will hold interviews Friday afternoon, which will provide an update on his status.
*The customary starters (C.J. Jackson, Muhammad, Andre Wesson, Kyle Young and Kaleb Wesson) opened with a 9-5 lead in the first 4:26 before Keyshawn Woods replaced Kyle Young.
*Here was a new lineup: Jackson and Woods at guard, Musa Jallow and Young at forward and Kaleb Wesson at center. It played together for 1:28, allowing two points and scoring none at the midway point of the first half. Then Andre Wesson replaced Jallow, and that was another never-before-used lineup. Ohio State tried to go big and versatile here.
*The starters were reunited at 8:09 with the score tied at 17, and they scored four and allowed the same in the next 1:54.
*From 11:57 until the 6:15 mark of the first half, Ohio State went with exclusively two-guard lineups. In the process, a 16-9 lead was evened out at 21-all.
*Syracuse opened the second half with a 10-4 run against Ohio State’s starters. A 31-29 halftime lead was a 39-35 deficit for the Buckeyes when Woods replaced Kaleb Wesson with 16:15 left, putting a three-guard lineup on the court.
*That lineup of Jackson, Muhammad, Woods, Andre Wesson and Young pulled the Buckeyes back even at 41 with a 5-2 run during a 3:52 stretch.
*Starting with 12:23 to play, Ohio State used five different lineups in the next 4:04 seeking something that worked as Syracuse built a 10-point lead.
*No specific lineup seemed to gain any traction as the game dragged on, and Holtmann’s substitutions reflected this.
*The lone exception was the lineup of Jackson, Muhammad, Woods, Andre Wesson and Young. That group had logged 10:25 while appearing in four of the first six games, scoring and allowing 17 points. Against the Orange, it nearly equaled its court time by playing 10:19 – 14 seconds more than the starting lineup – and scoring 15 points while allowing seven for a game-high plus-8 rating.
*For the season, the starting lineup in six of the seven games has played 49:06, scored 98 points and allowed 78. It’s the best plus-minus lineup for Ohio State.
*With Muhammad’s status uncertain after suffering a dislocated left shoulder late in the game, that same lineup but with fellow freshman Duane Washington Jr. in his place has made just one appearance. Against Samford, that group played for 1:52, allowed three points and did not score.
*The starting lineup but with Woods swapped for Muhammad played 4:05 against Syracuse and was outscored 13-10 its second appearance. In 6:50 this season, that group is minus-8, having scored 13 points and allowed 21. It also played at Creighton.
*Individually, Muhammad was the only Ohio State player to have a positive individual plus-minus rating. He was plus-5. For the season, he is a team-best plus-119.
*The top-performing lineup that doesn’t include Muhammad is a grouping of Jackson, Washington, Woods, Jallow and Kaleb Wesson. That group is plus-17 in 12:30 spread across four appearances, scoring 27 points and allowing 10.
*That lineups has the third-best plus-minus rating for the Buckeyes.