Analysis: How Ohio State played without Kyle Young and what it means

Adam Jardy
[Barbara J. Perenic/Dispatch]

Although Ohio State earned a significant win Sunday against No. 7 Maryland, it came with a price as junior forward Kyle Young departed with an ankle sprain. Without him, the Buckeyes held serve and went on to finish a 79-72 win while using a six-man rotation in the second half.

Here’s a look at how coach Chris Holtmann deployed his players, how that changed when Young left the game and what that could mean.

• For a ninth straight game, Holtmann went with a starting lineup of CJ Walker and Luther Muhammad as the guards, Andre Wesson and Young as the forwards and Kaleb Wesson at center. This is the longest streak of consecutive starts for a lineup all season, and this group was coming off a season-worst minus-11 performance at Iowa (17 points scored, 28 allowed) in Ohio State’s previous game. For the season, this group entered the game plus-2 (152 points scored, 150 allowed) in 99:19 during Big Ten play.

• Holtmann said after the game that he didn’t love how the Buckeyes began the game defensively, but this group led 9-8 with 15:46 left in the first half when Justin Ahrens replaced Young for the first substitution of the game.

• The starters were reunited out of the under-8 media timeout. With 7:46 to play in the first half and Maryland ahead 21-19, Young subbed back in to replace E.J. Liddell. The group played together for the next 2:18 before Duane Washington Jr. replaced Muhammad and the lead at 25-24. That accounted for a modest 6-3 run.

• This lineup was on the court when Young suffered the injury as he pulled down an offensive rebound with 4:36 to play. When play was stopped seven seconds later and Ahrens replaced Young, the score was tied at 27.

• Holtmann went with a lineup of Muhammad and Washington in the backcourt, Ahrens and Andre Wesson as the forwards and Kaleb Wesson at center with 3:12 left in the half and the lead at 30-29. Those five outscored Maryland 10-4 to take a 40-33 lead into the break. It’s been a good lineup in limited playing time: Entering the game, it was plus-12 (24 points scored, 12 allowed) in 9:43, all of which came in Big Ten play.

• That group did not play together again in the game, as Ahrens did not appear in the second half. Instead, Washington replaced Young to open the second half, giving the Buckeyes three guards for the first time in this game. The lineup of Walker, Washington, Muhammad and the Wessons was elite in a home loss to Wisconsin, scoring 20 points and allowing only two in 8:35. Against the Terrapins, these five played the first 6:49 of the second half and extended the seven-point halftime lead to 52-42 by outscoring Maryland 12-9.

• That lineup hadn’t played at all during the last three games and had only made appearances in two of Ohio State’s prior seven games.

• The first player to get a break was Washington when he was replaced by Liddell. That lineup lasted for 1:27 before Washington returned to give Muhammad a break with 10:44 left and the lead at 56-45. Muhammad then gave Walker a break with 9:52 to play and the lead at 56-48.

• That lineup of Washington, Muhammad, Andre Wesson, Liddell and Kaleb Wesson remained together for the next 3:18 and held serve, scoring only two points but also only allowing three.

• A three-guard lineup closed the game when Walker came back in for Liddell with 6:34 to play and the lead at 58-51. The Buckeyes matched the Terrapins for the duration, scoring 21 points and allowing 21 to close out a 79-72 win.

• The three-guard lineup anchored by the Wesson brothers played for all but 6:37 of the second half.

• The Buckeyes used zero new lineups in the game.

• With freshman guard D.J. Carton out indefinitely, the Buckeyes could be down two of their key contributors at Nebraska on Thursday and beyond. Should both of them miss the game, Ohio State’s best lineup without them for the season is Washington, Muhammad, Ahrens and the Wessons. This group is plus-18 (34 points scored, 16 allowed) in 12:55, all of which came in Big Ten play.

• Ohio State has played 129 lineups of scholarship-only players this season. Only 31 of them (24.0%) have not featured Carton or Young.

• Ohio State’s most-used lineup without Carton or Young consists of Walker, Washington, Liddell and the Wessons. That group has played for 37:37 and been outscored 68-42 (minus-26).


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