Ohio State used three-guard lineups to beat Villanova

Adam Jardy
Ohio State Buckeyes guard Luther Muhammad (1) drives around Villanova Wildcats forward Saddiq Bey (41) during the first half of the NCAA men's basketball game at Value City Arena in Columbus on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019.

In the first top-20 November matchup at Value City Arena in eight years, No. 16 Ohio State routed No. 10 Villanova 76-51 on Wednesday night to move to 3-0 on the season.

Here's an in-depth look at the personnel the Buckeyes used to beat the Wildcats.

• With Andre Wesson again unavailable because of injury, Holtmann went with the same starting lineup as he did against UMass Lowell: CJ Walker, Luther Muhammad, Duane Washington Jr., Kyle Young and Kaleb Wesson. Against the River Hawks, the starters were plus-7 (12 points scored, five allowed) in 5:55. They would blow those numbers out of the water early with a 17-3 run in the first 3:57 before DJ Carton replaced Walker and E.J. Liddell replaced Young.

• The first previously unused lineup to play in this game took the floor with 13:31 left in the first half and the Ohio State lead at 21-7. Holtmann went with Carton, Walker, Muhammad, Alonzo Gaffney and Young as Wesson got his first break of the game. In a shift lasting 1:46, this lineup pushed the lead to 18 points with a Carton free throw and Muhammad three-pointer while not allowing a point and forcing two turnovers.

• The starters were reunited just past the midpoint of the first half with 9:04 to play and the Ohio State lead up to 31-10. They would stay on the court until the under-8 timeout, having gotten a Walker layup and not allowing any points.

*Villanova got a little bit of late first-half traction and it started against a lineup of Carton, Walker, Washington, Young and Wesson. With 2:39 to play and the lead at 38-13, this group was outscored 4-2 in 1:33 before Holtmann called timeout with 1:06 to play and replaced Carton with Muhammad.

• That put the starters back on the court, but it didn't help. The Wildcats closed with a 5-0 run against this group to pull within 40-22 at the half.

• The second half proved better for the Buckeyes starters. They played the first 5:41 and outscored Villanova 9-8 before Carton and Liddell replaced Washington and Young, and that lineup went on a 7-2 run in the next 4:17 to push the lead to 24 points at 56-32 with 10:02 to play.

• The lineup of Carton, Walker, Washington, Liddell and Young then removed all doubt. After checking in with 10:02 remaining, this group had a 6-0 run in 2:20 to give the Buckeyes a 30-point lead. It was the first time this lineup was together in this game.

• Villanova made a late push with the outcome already decided against a lineup of Carton, Walker, Muhammad, Gaffney and Wesson. From 5:05 to 1:35, the Wildcats outscored the Buckeyes 10-3 to pull with 21 before walk-on Danny Hummer replaced Carton.

• The Buckeyes used only nine lineups in the game, two of which hadn't been used yet this season. All nine of them played for at least one minute. Against UMass Lowell, the first game without Andre Wesson, the Buckeyes used 16 different lineups, all of which were new.

• The starting lineup had not played in the opener. It finished at plus-12 (28 points scored, 16 allowed) in 10:10.

• Six of the nine lineups used by Ohio State were three-guard lineups with one forward and Wesson in the post. That type of lineup played 64.5 percent of the minutes prior to Hummer checking into the game.

• The other three lineups saw the Buckeyes play three guards and two forwards. Ohio State had three guards on the court for the entirety of the game.