PISCATAWAY, N.J. – The No. 16 Ohio State men’s basketball team took its first resume-sinking loss of the season Wednesday night at the Rutgers Athletic Center. There, the Scarlet Knights led for nearly 30 minutes, closed by scoring the final six points and sending the Buckeyes home with a 64-61 loss. Throughout, Ohio State struggled to gain much traction against a physical and lengthy Rutgers defense, and coach Chris Holtmann spent much of the game navigating early foul trouble for Kaleb Wesson and trying to find a lineup that would provide some kind of spark.
Here’s how that all unfolded.
*Holtmann replaced Keyshawn Woods with Kyle Young in the starting lineup, marking the tenth game this season Ohio State has gone with a starting lineup of C.J. Jackson, Luther Muhammad, Andre and Kaleb Wesson and Young. That group did not see time together in the prior game against Michigan State, and it only got the first 2:54 of this game before Kaleb Wesson picked up a second foul and checked out with Ohio State ahead 2-0. Woods replaced him.
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*Wesson’s foul trouble meant early minutes for Jaedon LeDee, and that meant a pair of seldom-used lineups. He was on the court with Jackson, Muhammad, Woods and Andre Wesson for 1:24 and then that same lineup but with Duane Washington for Jackson for 30 seconds. In that span, Rutgers edged it from a 6-4 lead to 10-7, and Kaleb Wesson relieved LeDee with 12:49 left in the half.
*The starting lineup for the prior three games (Jackson, Muhammad, Woods and the Wessons) first appeared with 9:51 left in the half and Rutgers ahead 16-9.
*The first lineup to be used a second time was Jackson, Muhammad, Woods, Andre Wesson and Young. That came with 8:41 left and Rutgers ahead 18-12.
*Thanks to three-pointers from Washington and Jackson, the lineup of those two plus Andre Wesson, Woods and Young had a 6-1 run in 2:02 that pulled the Buckeyes within 31-27 with two minutes left in the half.
*To open the second half, Woods replace Young in the lineup and this was where Kaleb Wesson took over for a while by scoring the first 10 points of the half for the Buckeyes. As such, this lineup played the first 5:40 and scored 10 points, but it also allowed nine.
*Wesson came out with 14:20 to play, and Rutgers immediately got going. With Young in place of Wesson, it was a 4-0 run in 1:22 to make it a 44-40 Rutgers lead, and when Washington replaced Muhammad it was a 4-0 run in 1:30 to make it a 48-40 deficit for the Buckeyes with 11:28 to play.
*With 6:50 to play and Rutgers ahead 55-49, Holtmann came out of a media timeout with the lineup of Jackson, Muhammad, Woods and the Wesson brothers. In 2:23, it cut the deficit to three at 58-55 when Woods replaced Young with 4:27 to play.
*Woods and Young would sub for each other multiple times during the next two minutes, but it was with Woods on the floor that Ohio State made its final push. In 55 seconds, that lineup scored four points to take a 61-58 lead with 2:37 to play when Young replaced Woods out of a timeout. The substitutions were offense-defense: Woods on offense, Young on defense.
*No new lineups were used in the game.
*The lineup of Jackson, Muhammad, Woods and the Wessons actually was plus-9 in 10:33, outscoring Rutgers 23-14.
*The lineup of Jackson, Muhammad, Andre Wesson, Woods and Young was outscored 13-5 in 4:37.
*Ohio State used 21 different lineups against Michigan State. It used 14 against Rutgers.
*Kaleb Wesson leads the Buckeyes in individual plus-minus for the season at plus-176 and in Big Ten play at plus-38.