Here’s what Ohio State did without Meechie Johnson Jr.
An Ohio State team that’s no stranger to injury and illness is still dealing with another temporary loss. On Tuesday night, the No. 19 Buckeyes host IUPUI in what will be their third game without second-year guard Meechie Johnson Jr.
A week before that game, Johnson collided with fellow guard Cedric Russell during a rebounding drill and suffered an undisclosed facial injury. Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said on Monday’s radio show that Johnson is basically day-to-day right now, but he won’t be able to play a game as long as he will not have successfully completed a full workout. Currently, he is not allowed any physical activity, and it could take at least two weeks from the date of the injury until Johnson is able to return to games for Ohio State. .
Through the first 13 games this season, Johnson averaged 6.6 points and 1.6 rebounds while shooting 40.0 percent (20 for 50) from 3-point range. He started the season opener, hit the winner against Seton Hall and averaged 19.7 minutes per game. Johnson was the first bench substitute in four games.
It is the latest defeat for a team still deprived of Judge Sueing (abdominal injury) and Seth Towns (back surgery), who are both making progress in their return to court but have yet to receive a concrete return date. . But without Johnson, the Buckeyes are 1-1 while adjusting their rotations to compensate for a player who has been a key member of the rotation.
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Here’s a look at how they tried to fill the void.
Gene Brown minutes increased
Against Penn State on Sunday, Brown’s six points in 17:51 helped the Buckeyes keep the Nittany Lions at bay. It came after he played 12:44 off the bench in last Thursday’s loss to Wisconsin, a game where he had one rebound and four fouls while going scoreless.
His average of 15.0 minutes played over the past two games is a sharp increase from his average of 9.7 minutes per game while Johnson was healthy. It’s also the biggest increase in minutes on the roster in Johnson’s absence.
Ohio State has used 16 new formations over the past two games. Brown was part of nine of them.
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It also features Brown.
Against Penn State, a formation of Jamari Wheeler and Malaki Branham in the backcourt, Brown at 3 and EJ Liddell and Kyle Young at bottom outscored the Nittany Lions 13-4 (plus-9) in just 3:54. It was the best plus-minus of any of Holtmann’s 16 different formations used in this game.
In the 10-point loss to Wisconsin three days prior, that same squad was plus-6 (15 points scored, 9 allowed) in 5:15. It was the second-highest mark for the Buckeyes in the game, and the plus-15 mark over the past two games is Ohio State’s best.
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In 20:08 of playing time, a formation with Wheeler, Justin Ahrens, Johnson, Liddell and Young is plus-18 (51 points scored, 33 allowed). That same formation with Branham in place of Johnson is plus-13 (117 runs scored, 104 allowed) in 63:45 and is the second most used formation this season. In the last two games, he is 6 under (16 points scored, 22 allowed) in 1:41 p.m.
This aforementioned range is second only to the most used range with Johnson. This line-up consists of Johnson, Wheeler, Ahrens, Liddell and Zed Key, and in 20:34 they have both scored and allowed 34 points. Brown replaced Johnson in that lineup against Penn State and he was outscored 14-11 in 5:05.
Cedric Russell has seen his minutes decrease
In the first five games of Big Ten play, Louisiana graduate transfer guard Cedric Russell averaged 12.4 minutes. He finished at 19 minutes in a lopsided Dec. 11 home win over Wisconsin, but was off the bench for just four minutes in a game-breaking loss to Indiana on Jan. 6.
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Without Johnson, Russell averaged 11.0 minutes per game but scored just two points. He took a shot against Penn State and didn’t score.