Behind Musa Jallow, brand-new lineups carried Ohio State to win at Notre Dame
In order to hold off Notre Dame on Tuesday night, Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann leaned heavily on a bunch of new lineup combinations.
The end result was a 90-85 win in what was the first true road game of the season for the No. 22 Buckeyes, who improved to 4-0. Here’s a detailed look at how they got there.
*Ohio State opened with the same starting lineup for the fourth straight game: CJ Walker, Duane Washington Jr., Justice Sueing, E.J. Liddell and Kyle Young. Through the first three games, that lineup had logged 39:02 of playing time, scored 88 points and allowed 49 for a team-best plus-39 rating. No other lineup had logged more than six minutes together entering the Notre Dame game.
*Against the Irish, the starters played the first 6:07 of the game before Justin Ahrens and Zed Key replaced Washington and Liddell with 13:53 to play and Notre Dame ahead 12-11. This lineup of Ahrens, Key, Sueing, Walker and Young had outscored opponents 8-0 entering the game but was outscored 6-2 in 2:29 before Holtmann made three subs. It was also the only playing time for Key.
*This was where junior Musa Jallow first entered the game, with the Buckeyes trailing 18-13 with 11:24 left in the first half. This lineup of Washington, Jallow, Ahrens, Sueing and Liddell hadn’t played together yet this season, and in the next 2:15 it pulled the Buckeyes one point closer at 22-18 before Young replaced Sueing with 9:05 left.
*This, too, was a new lineup. With Washington and Jallow as guards and Ahrens, Liddell and Young all as forwards, Ohio State put together an 8-4 run to take a 26-25 lead before freshman Gene Brown entered the game for the first time with 6:14 left. He subbed in alongside Walker and the two gave Ahrens and Liddell a break after a 2:51 shift for that lineup.
*Jallow’s play made it hard for Holtmann to take him off the court, and the result was a third straight new lineup. With Walker, Washington, Brown, Jallow and Young on the court, Notre Dame scored four straight points to take a 29-26 lead before Ahrens returned to replace Washington with 4:58 left. Sixteen seconds later, Jallow got a break with the Notre Dame lead at 29-28.
*This lineup of Walker, Brown, Ahrens, Sueing and Young tied the game at 34 in the next 1:46 with a 6-5 scoring advantage going into the under-4 media timeout with 2:56 remaining. At the break, Young replaced Liddell and Notre Dame pulled ahead 36-34 before Washington and Jallow replaced Walker and Brown with 1:39 to play.
*Although the lineup of Ahrens, Jallow, Liddell, Sueing and Washington had outscored the Irish 5-3 in a shift lasting 2:15 earlier in the game, it was outscored 6-0 in 1:07 before Jimmy Sotos entered for Washington with 32 seconds left and the Notre Dame lead at 42-34. That would be the halftime score.
*Ohio State used nine different lineups during the first half and seven of them were brand new. Five of those seven featured Jallow.
*It was back to the starters for the start of the second half, but things would get worse before they got better. In the first 4:57, the starters were outscored 11-10 as the Irish upped their lead to a game-high nine points at 53-44 before Sotos replaced Walker with 15:03 to play.
*When Sotos checked out with 11:27 to play, he had helped Ohio State cut that nine-point deficit to six points at 59-53.
*With 10:23 to play and Notre Dame ahead 61-56, Holtmann made two substitutions when Liddell and Washington entered in place of Sueing and Young. That gave the Buckeyes a lineup of Walker, Washington, Jallow, Ahrens and Liddell. It was one that had never been used before, and it would play for the next 4:32 while giving the Buckeyes a 69-67 lead thanks to a 13-6 run.
*With 5:51 to play and the lead at 69-67, Holtmann brought Sueing back in for Ahrens. It would be the final substitution of the game. They would hold on, outscoring Notre Dame 21-18 to secure the 90-85 win.
*Those 21 points in 5:51 equaled the scoring output from the starting lineup, which finished with 21 points scored and 23 allowed in 11:04.
*Of the 15 lineups the Buckeyes used against Notre Dame, 13 of them had not seen any action during the first three games.
*Ahrens and Jallow had a lot to do with that. Jallow played 13 minutes in the opener before missing the next two games with a leg injury, then played 22 minutes off the bench in this game. Ahrens’ 20 minutes were a season high.
*The Buckeyes played the final 15:03 of the game with lineups they had never used before. From that point, they outscored Notre Dame 46-32.