What lineups did Ohio State use down the stretch against Wisconsin?

Adam Jardy
Ohio State Buckeyes guard CJ Walker (13) looks to pass over Wisconsin Badgers guard D'Mitrik Trice (0) during the first half of the NCAA men's basketball game at Value City Arena in Columbus on Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. [Adam Cairns/Dispatch]

With Kyle Young forced to the sideline after undergoing an appendectomy five days prior, against Wisconsin on Friday night Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann had to adjust his rotations and lineups in a significant way for a third time this season.

He had to do it when Andre Wesson went out with a fractured eye socket, missing two games, and again when Duane Washington Jr. missed two games with an injury to cartilage around one of his ribs.

Here's how the 61-57 loss to the Badgers went down.

*Young's absence meant Holtmann utilized his third different starting lineup of the season. It was a three-guard lineup with CJ Walker, Duane Washington Jr. and Luther Muhammad filled out with Andre Wesson and Kaleb Wesson. This group had appeared in two prior games, totaling 4:36 of playing time, scoring eight points and allowing eight. All of the scoring and all but 14 seconds came during the Penn State win.

*Against Wisconsin, it lasted until the first media timeout when D.J. Carton replaced Walker with 15:53 to play and the lead at 7-0. Freshman E.J. Liddell was the next sub, replacing Kaleb Wesson 18 seconds later following a Wesson turnover.

*Nobody scored for a while. The teams went 2:41 without any points, and Wisconsin started to get back into the game with a 6-2 run in 2:51 against a lineup of Carton, Liddell, Muhammad, Walker and Kaleb Wesson before Holtmann made two substitutions at the under-12 timeout.

*That lineup of Carton, Walker, Washington and the Wessons logged a shift of 3:33, scoring six and allowing six before a pair of substitutions with 8:19 left and the lead at 15-12.

*The first lineup to be reused came with 5:10 remaining in the half and the lead at 17-15, but it didn't last long. The lineup of Carton, Liddell, Muhammad, Walker and Kaleb Wesson played together for 44 seconds and scored two points without allowing any before Wesson picked up a second foul and was replaced by his brother. He wouldn't return during the first half, and this was the first lineup debut of the game.

*In 1:43, this lineup of Carton, Liddell, Muhammad, Walker and Andre Wesson was outscored 4-2 and departed when Washington replaced Walker with 2:43 to play and the lead at 21-19.

*Wisconsin closed the half on an 8-2 run against an Ohio State lineup making its debut: Justin Ahrens, Carton, Muhammad, Washington and Andre Wesson. This happened during the final 1:52 of the half and gave the Badgers a 29-25 lead.

*The start to the second half went decidedly differently. The first-half starters played the first 4:18 and jumped all over the Badgers with a 13-2 run before Liddell replaced Andre Wesson with 15:32 left in the game. To this point, this group had scored 20 points and allowed two.

*Liddell picked up his fourth foul with 13:12 to play. With Young unavailable, this was a major blow to Ohio State's depth at power forward. He was replaced by Andre Wesson.

*With 6:32 to play and the game tied at 47, Walker checked in for Carton to join Muhammad, Washington and the Wessons. It was the final substitution of the game for the Buckeyes. This group was outscored 14-10.

*In looking at the last five minutes of the last two games, both of which were Ohio State losses in which the Buckeyes held leads during these stretches, Holtmann has played seven guys. Here's how much playing time each has seen, in order from most to least:

Full 10 minutes – Walker, Kaleb Wesson

9:35 – Muhammad

9:27 – Andre Wesson

5:58 - Washington

4:10 – Liddell

0:50 – Carton

*The lineup that closed the game played exactly 10 minutes together (a game-high total) and was minus-6 (16 points scored, 22 allowed).

*The starting lineup with Muhammad, Walker, Washington and the Wessons finished plus-18 (20 points scored, two allowed).

*The 11 total lineups of only scholarship players used was the second-lowest mark of the season. Ohio State used only nine lineups against Villanova.

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