For Kyle Young, Seth Towns and the Buckeyes, rest will be crucial as Michigan game looms

Adam Jardy
Buckeye Xtra
Ohio State Buckeyes forward Seth Towns (31) grabs a rebound away frmo Rutgers Scarlet Knights center Myles Johnson (15) during the second half of Wednesday's NCAA Division I basketball game at Value City Arena in Columbus, Oh. on December 23, 2020.

The usual to-dos extend well beyond the court for No. 4 Ohio State as it prepares to host No. 3 Michigan on Sunday.

Thursday night, the Buckeyes won a physical game at Penn State, marking their seventh straight victory. They paid a toll with their bodies, however, and with a quick turnaround coach Chris Holtmann said there are specific steps everyone needs to take in order to be at their best against the Wolverines.

“We’ve got to get sleep tonight,” Holtmann said Friday afternoon. “We’ve got to hydrate throughout the day. We’ve got to get our smoothies and vitamins from our nutrition staff. (Strength and conditioning coach Quadrian Banks) has to do a great job with a stretch recovery period in the weight room. Our guys who didn’t play a lot of minutes are going to have to get some extra work. We need to have a good clean-up film session.

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“Then we’ve got to go to bed. We’ve got to get to sleep early and then get ready to go (Saturday).”

The 92-82 win against the Nittany Lions took a particular toll on two players, and the rest will be essential for both of them in the coming 48 hours. Senior forward Kyle Young gutted out 31 minutes against Penn State’s frontcourt but continues to battle lower-leg injuries that have limited his practice availability for the entire season.

In 22 games this season, Young has played more minutes (576) than he did in an injury-shortened junior season of 25 games that saw him log 573 minutes.

Graduate transfer Seth Towns, though, took a scary-looking fall during the second half as he battled for an offensive rebound. After missing the last two seasons due to an injured knee, Towns laid in a heap in the key as play was stopped and Holtmann rushed to the court as the forward clutched his left knee.

He would limp off the court, spend time with the training staff and watch the remainder of the game from the bench area.

“I think he’s gonna be OK,” Holtmann said of Towns. “We’ll know more in a day, but he’s banged up. He and Kyle. We’ll see. Kyle will be, I think he’ll be OK but he’s going to need some time off.”

The quick turnaround doesn’t do the Buckeyes many favors, although Michigan also played Thursday night and beat Rutgers at home. When the Big Ten was shuffling games to account for those the Nittany Lions had postponed due COVID-19, Holtmann said he had asked about flipping the home games in this season’s series so they could have played at home Thursday night.

That obviously didn’t come to fruition.

“I would characterize it as a quick turnaround,” Holtmann said. “It was the only time all year I looked ahead at the calendar. I did not anticipate an 8 o’clock tip (at Penn State) but I knew it was going to lead to a quicker turnaround than would be ideal. There’s no excuses. Everybody has quick turnarounds in this business. We’ve got to find a way to be our best.”