Analysis: Which Ohio State lineups worked, and which didn't, in Purdue loss

Adam Jardy
Buckeye Xtra
Ohio State Buckeyes forward Seth Towns (31) and teammates leave the court following the men's basketball game against the Purdue Boilermakers at Value City Arena in Columbus on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021. Purdue won 67-65.

In a fourth straight game without CJ Walker and a third without Jimmy Sotos, No. 15 Ohio State built an 11-point lead but faltered late and dropped a 67-65 home defeat Tuesday night against Purdue at Value City Arena.

Here’s a look at how the Buckeyes got there, which lineups worked and which ones didn’t. Of note: Walker could possibly be back for Saturday's game at No. 10 Wisconsin.

*The Buckeyes stuck with the same starting lineup for a third straight game: Justin Ahrens, E.J. Liddell, Justice Sueing, Duane Washington Jr. and Kyle Young. This group was even during the last two starts, scoring and allowing 63 points in the wins against Illinois and Northwestern. Against Purdue, it opened with a 9-4 lead before Zed Key replaced Liddell with 16:27 left, which has often been the first substitution of the game this season.

*Freshman Gene Brown was the second substitute of the game when he replaced Sueing at the first media timeout with 15:10 left and the lead at 12-7.

*With 13:20 to play in the half and the Ohio State lead at 15-10, Holtmann made three substitutions and went with a new lineup of Meechie Johnson, Seth Towns, Brown, Ahrens and Liddell. In the next 1:20, it allowed a runner from Sasha Stefanovic and didn’t score before Liddell drew a foul on Trevion Williams with exactly 12 minutes to play, sending the teams to the media timeout with Ohio State ahead 15-12.

*In the next 1:54, a lineup of Ahrens, Johnson, Liddell, Sueing and Towns was outscored 5-1 before the Buckeyes called timeout with 10:04 left and Holtmann replaced Ahrens and Towns with Washington and Young.

*That lineup of Johnson, Liddell, Sueing, Washington and Young reclaimed the lead on a Liddell three-pointer before Ahrens replaced Washington with 9:05 left and the lead at 19-17.

*With 8:40 to play in the half and the lead at 19-17, Holtmann put his starters back on the court for the first time. They would take it down to the under-8 timeout, which came with 6:08 to play and Ohio State ahead 26-21 thanks to a 7-4 run.

*Key again replaced Liddell, and Ohio State opened its biggest lead of the game here with a 6-2 run in 1:29. That put the Buckeyes ahead 32-23 thanks to two quick Washington three-pointers, but then he turned the ball over and was one of two substitutions with 4:39 left.

*It was a 35-24 Ohio State lead with 2:27 left when the Buckeyes went with a lineup of Johnson, Liddell, Sueing, Washington and Young. Purdue would pull within 35-30 with a 4-0 run in the next 1:25 before Ahrens replaced Johnson.

*Here it was back to the starters with 1:02 to play, and the Buckeyes would get a pair of free throws from Liddell to push the lead to 37-30 before Holtmann put a defense-first lineup on the floor with Musa Jallow, Brown, Key, Sueing and Young. Key would foul Zach Edey with two seconds left and he would hit one of two free throws to set the halftime score at 37-31.

*There would be two more substitutions for Ohio State before the half. Washington and Ahrens checked back in for Jallow and Brown with two seconds left to put the starters on the court, and the Buckeyes actually got Liddell a good three-point look that didn’t fall.

*It was back to the starters for the second half, and through the first 2:46 the 37-31 Ohio State lead remained at six points when Key replaced Liddell with 17:14 left and the score 42-36.

*Jallow didn’t appear until the final seconds of the first half, but he checked in with 16:20 left in the first half and the lead at 43-36.

*Ohio State led 45-39 with 14:34 when Key picked up a third foul and the Buckeyes went with a lineup of Ahrens, Liddell, Sueing, Towns and Washington. This lineup had played a total of 3:20 in two games this season, and against Purdue it would play for the next 3:30 while being outscored 4-3 before the under-12 timeout at 11:12.

*The next lineup of Johnson, Key, Sueing, Washington and Young gave up a pair of free throws in the next minute before Liddell returned to replace Key with 10:12 left and the lead cut to 48-45.

*With 7:43 left and the lead at 50-45, Ohio State went with a lineup of Ahrens, Liddell, Sueing, Towns and Washington and Purdue would briefly reclaim the lead with a 7-3 run before Young replaced Sueing with 5:54 remaining and Ohio State back ahead 53-52.

*Here, with 5:54 to play, the Buckeyes went with their starters save for Towns in place of Sueing. This lineup would remain until 2:11 remained and the 53-52 Ohio State lead was now 60-59 after both teams scored seven points in the span of 3:43. This lineup had never appeared together this season until now.

*Sueing returned to the game in place of Towns, putting the starters back on the court together, and this was the lineup that the Buckeyes would ride until the final seconds. In the next 1:46, they would score four points and allow five before Brown replaced Ahrens with 25 seconds left, the game tied at 64 and Purdue with the ball.

*It was against this lineup that Jaden Ivey hit the game-winning three-pointer with five seconds remaining.

*Washington was fouled with two seconds left, and after he made the first free throw the Buckeyes brought Key into the game in place of Liddell in hopes of getting a tip-out for a tying or winning shot. This final lineup was comprised of Ahrens, Key, Towns, Washington and Young, and it was unsuccessful.

*Ohio State used 18 different lineups in this game but only three of them were new, a season-low total.

*The starters finished plus-10, scoring 23 points and allowing 13 in 7:13.

*The lineup of Ahrens, Liddell, Sueing, Towns and Washington was minus-5 (six points scored, 11 allowed) in 5:09.

*In 3:40, the lineup of Ahrens, Key, Sueing, Washington and Young was plus-5 (10 scored, five allowed).