Ohio State men's basketball | Lineup analysis: How much the Buckeyes went small against Purdue and how it worked

Adam Jardy
Ohio State Buckeyes guard C.J. Jackson (3) can't come up with the steal against Purdue Boilermakers guard Carsen Edwards (3) during the 2nd half of their game at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio on Janauary 23, 2019. [Kyle Robertson/Dispatch]

The loss of Kyle Young to a stress fracture guaranteed that the Ohio State men’s basketball team would need to significantly alter its rotations Wednesday night when Purdue came to Value City Arena.

Then when Kaleb Wesson again found himself in foul trouble, it forced coach Chris Holtmann to get creative and go small. Let’s take a look at how different Ohio State’s rotations looked in the 79-67 loss at Purdue and what it might mean going forward.

*Holtmann elevated freshman guard Duane Washington Jr. to the starting lineup despite the fact that he was battling the flu. It marked the first start for a lineup of C.J. Jackson, Luther Muhammad, Washington, Andre Wesson and Kaleb Wesson. That group had played in seven games this season but only totaled 10:18, scoring 13 points and allowing 20. It played the first 4:42 and eked out a 6-3 lead.

*Musa Jallow was the first substitution in place of Washington. That group hadn’t been on the court together since the Bucknell game, and in a total of 2:26 this season had been outscored 11-1. It scored two points in 38 seconds.

*Purdue began its 21-1 first-half run against a lineup of Jackson, Woods, Jallow, Andre Wesson and Jaedon LeDee. It was a 10-5 run against those five during 2:34.

*Holtmann called timeout and broke up that lineup, replacing Jallow, LeDee and Wesson with Kaleb Wesson, Muhammad and Justin Ahrens with 9:46 left in the half and the Ohio State lead at 17-16. This was a brand-new lineup, and in 2:21 it was outscored 4-1 as Purdue took the lead.

*At the under-8 media timeout, Washington replaced Ahrens and Andre Wesson replaced Woods, going with his starting lineup trailing 20-18 with 7:25 to play in the half. Kaleb Wesson picked up a second foul 19 seconds later, Purdue scored four points and LeDee came back in for Wesson and Jallow for Washington with 6:49 to play.

*The Purdue lead was 30-22 with 4:36 left when Holtmann went with a new lineup of Jackson, Washington, Woods, Jallow and Andre Wesson. Without a prototypical big man, this group gave up three points and scored two in 1:39.

*It was back to the starters for the second half, but Washington could only go 81 seconds before he was relieved for Jallow. He wouldn’t return.

*The deficit was at 14 points, 48-34, with 16:45 left in the game when Kaleb Wesson committed his fourth foul. Ahrens replaced him, and it was here that the Buckeyes started to make it a game again. This lineup of Jackson, Muhammad, Ahrens, Jallow and Andre Wesson hadn’t appeared together all season, but it halved the deficit and pulled the Buckeyes within 54-47 with a 13-6 run in 3:58.

*LeDee got a 58-second shift to give Andre Wesson a break, briefly giving the Buckeyes a more-prototypical big man on the court. He was removed from the game with 11:31 to play after the under-12 timeout and Purdue leading 56-50.

*From 16:45 until 9:06, Ohio State used entirely new lineups save for the 58 seconds LeDee was on the court.

*It was back to the lineup of Jackson, Muhammad, Ahrens, Jallow and Andre Wesson with 7:52 to play and Purdue ahead 64-58. This group would play the next 2:28, score five points and allow five as Purdue kept the Buckeyes at bay.

*Kaleb Wesson then returned with 5:34 to play, replacing Ahrens, but he fouled out with 4:43 left and the score unchanged.

*Ahrens came back in to replace Wesson, and that fivesome of Jackson, Muhammad, Ahrens, Jallow and Andre Wesson played the final 4:43 of the game.

*For the game, that lineup scored 22 points and allowed 21 in a game-high 11:09. Those numbers are skewed a bit by Purdue’s 7-0 run in the final 1:41.

*Of the 15 different lineups used, six had never been used before.

*So what was the impact of playing without a big man? If we classify LeDee and Kaleb Wesson as the two traditional centers, Ohio State played some combination without them for 19:11 of the game. During those stretches, the Buckeyes outscored Purdue 39-34.

*This might likely be more about Purdue than it is Ohio State. You’d be hard-pressed to argue that the Buckeyes are better without Kaleb Wesson on the court. This was likely a matchup thing, but it bears further examination going forward as Young remains sidelined.


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