Ohio State men's basketball | Analysis: Buckeyes used different second-half lineups at Michigan State

Adam Jardy
Michigan State's Cassius Winston, left, drives against Ohio State's Kaleb Wesson during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

There was more to Ohio State’s second-half struggles than just missing shots Sunday afternoon at No. 11 Michigan State.

The second-half ankle injury to C.J. Jackson, coupled with some fatigue limiting Kaleb Wesson and injuries and foul trouble affecting the Spartans, forced the Buckeyes to almost completely play different lineups during the second half. Here’s what some lineup analysis from the game reveals about how Ohio State lost 62-44.

*For a seventh straight game, Ohio State went with a starting lineup of C.J. Jackson, Luther Muhammad, Musa Jallow, Andre Wesson and Kaleb Wesson. That group played Illinois to a 14-14 draw in 8:26 in the prior game, and it built a modest 4-2 lead in the first 3:32 before Kaleb Wesson picked up a foul and was relieved for Kyle Young. The starting lineup in this game did not play in the first game between these teams.

*Graduate transfer Keyshawn Woods was the fourth substitution of the game, and he checked in with 14:25 left in the half and the lead at 7-4. The lineup of Jackson, Duane Washington, Kaleb Wesson, Woods and Young pushed it to a nine-point lead at one point, but was broken up after the under-12 media timeout came at 9:54 and the lead at 16-12.

*It was an 18-15 lead with 7:36 left in the half when Holtmann went with a never-before used lineup after not using any new ones in the Illinois game prior. This featured Woods and Muhammad as the guards, Justin Ahrens as the small forward, Andre Wesson at power forward and Kaleb Wesson at center. It looks like an audition for Ahrens to handle a few of Jallow’s minutes, but it didn’t go well: in 2:02, Michigan State scored five straight points to claim a 20-18 lead before Holtmann called timeout with 5:34 left in the half.

*Jallow replaced Ahrens and Jackson replaced Woods here, bringing the starters back to the court. In the next 2:20, this group had a 6-3 run to take a 24-23 lead into the under-4 timeout that came with 3:14 to play.

*Jallow was called for a charge on the final Ohio State possession with two seconds left in the half, and the Buckeyes went with a defensive lineup of Jackson, Jallow, Muhammad, Andre Wesson and Young to close it out. They did.

*At the half, five of the seven lineups used by the Buckeyes had positive plus-minus ratings and it was a six-point lead.

*The starters got the first crack, and in 2:26 they allowed five points and didn’t score before Washington replaced Muhammad with 17:34 left and Ohio State clinging to a 31-30 lead.

*That lineup didn’t allow a point and didn’t score in 1:21 before Young replaced Kaleb Wesson.

*With 15:28 to play and Ohio State ahead 32-30, Woods checked into a lineup also consisting of Jackson, Washington, Andre Wesson and Young. This lineup was plus-19 for the season in 20:30, and it extended the lead to four points at 36-32 with field goals on consecutive possessions as part of a 4-2 run in 2:03. It had not appeared during the first half.

*Jackson had to check out with an ankle injury with 13:25 to play, breaking up the previously mentioned lineup. This was where Michigan State started to make its run. With Woods, Muhammad, Washington, Young and Kaleb Wesson on the court, Michigan State outscored that group 7-2 in 3:18 to take a 39-38 lead.

*Jackson then returned with 10:07 to play, replacing Young, and Andre Wesson replaced Washington. That lineup got a Kaleb Wesson free throw to tie it at 39 during a shift that lasted 1:27 and ended with Young replacing Wesson.

*This gave the Buckeyes a four-guard lineup of Jackson, Muhammad, Washington and Woods alongside Young that had never been used before. The teams traded threes, and Michigan State outscored this group 6-3 to reclaim the lead for good at 45-42 when the under-8 timeout came with 7:03 to play and the Buckeyes made multiple lineup changes.

*Here, the Buckeyes briefly went without either of their upperclassmen guards and fielded a lineup of Muhammad, Washington, Jallow and the Wesson brothers. This group had made two bit appearances earlier in the year totaling 2:27 and had been outscored 5-4. In 1:39, it was outscored 5-0 as Michigan State built a 50-42 lead with 5:24 to play.

*Holtmann then flopped the freshmen guards for the upperclassmen, bringing Jackson and Woods in for Muhammad and Washington. This, too, has been seldom used this year, having totaled only 3:52 on the season while being outscored 9-8. In 1:08, it gave up two points and did not score.

*Jackson subbed out with 4:16 to play and could not return. Washington replaced him with the Michigan State lead at 52-42, and that lineup was outscored 3-1 as the deficit grew to 12.

*The starters only played that opening shift in the second half.

*Of the 17 lineups used by the Buckeyes that consisted solely of recruited scholarship player, only two were used in both halves: the starters, and the lineup of Jackson, Washington, Jallow, Andre Wesson and Young.

*A lineup of Jackson, Washington, Jallow and the Wesson brothers outscored Michigan State 15-10 in 5:24 in the first meeting between the teams. In the rematch it was scoreless in 1:21.


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