Ohio State's Guards Struggling During Three-Game Slide

BruceHooley

Kyle Young will be two weeks clear of surgery to remove his appendix by the time No. 11 Ohio State tries to break a three-game losing streak Saturday at Indiana.

It's still up in the air whether Young will be recovered enough from the procedure by then to get back on the floor, so it probably shouldn't be a surprise that OSU's guards still haven't recovered from West Virginia reaching into their chests and yanking out their hearts at about the same time.

The Buckeyes' four-player backcourt rotation has been an escalating disaster since that 67-59 loss to WVU in Cleveland on Dec. 29.

Either that or C.J. Walker, D.J. Carton, Luther Muhammed and Duane Washington remain in a post-Fiesta Bowl funk from the football Buckeyes loss to Clemson in the College Football Playoff on Dec. 28.

Something has clearly happened to the guards who triggered OSU's earlier-season victories over Villanova, North Carolina and Kentucky.

The point guards -- Walker and Carton -- each had better than 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratios in those victories, but have been on the opposite side of that equation since in losses to West Virginia, Wisconsin and Maryland.

Washington is the only one of the four who's come close to maintaining his scoring average in the last three games from what it was when the Buckeyes blistered their way past Nova, UNC and UK.

Carton has scored half as many points, Walker just under half and Muhammed has shot 1-of-14 on three-pointers during the Buckeyes' recent skid.

OSU guards vs. Villanova, North Carolina, Kentucky

Player
Muhammed
Washington
Carton
Walker

Field goals

8/13

13/30

11/20

11/20

3-point  field goals

3/7

9/19

3/8

4/9

Points

20

40

34

29

Assists

4

2

11

13

Turnovers

3

7

5

5

OSU guards vs. West Virginia, Wisconsin, Maryland

Player
Muhammed
Washington
Carton
Walker

Field goals

3/19

11/38

7/21

7/18

3 Field goals

1/14

6/20

3/6

2/7

Points

17

37

17

17

Assists

5

2

6

3

Turnovers

3

5

12

5

"That's how it is in the life of a young player," OSU coach Chris Holtmann said. "You're going to have to deal with some ups and downs."

Carton is a freshman; Washington and Muhammed are sophomores, and Walker a redshirt junior who sat out all of last season after transferring from Florida State.

"I don't want to say, struggle, at all," Walker said. "I don't want to put that on my team or put that in my mind at all. I'm always confident. I wouldn't say we're doubting, or anything like that. I'm super confident going into this game just like each and every other game. I don't ever go into a game thinking we're going to lose, or anything like that....I just think we have to refocus, figure things out and we'll be OK."

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