NEW ORLEANS — Ohio State’s starters could have used some help in the 64-62 loss to Kansas on Saturday night.
Any help could have made the difference in whether the Buckeyes headed home or moved on to the national championship game.
The three reserves who played for Ohio State (31-8) combined for zero points without taking a shot, four rebounds and two assists. In a game that came down to the final seconds, any help could have made the difference.
Sam Thompson, Amir Williams and Evan Ravenel weren’t offensive forces all season, combining for a total of 8.3 points per game. But on a night when every point was so crucial, they came up empty.
The Kansas reserves weren’t much better. Their two subs — Conner Teahan and Kevin Young — combined for three points but they got off seven shots, the only successful one a 3 by Teahan with 8:19 to play. Young had five rebounds, four on the offensive end, for Kansas (32-6).
There won’t be much talk about the Jayhawks’ lack of depth because they are celebrating moving on to face Kentucky for the title on Monday night.
Ohio State, on the other hand, has a long offseason to think what might have been if there was any offense from the reserves.
Point guard Aaron Craft played all 40 minutes for the Buckeyes, while All-America Jared Sullinger played 39 and William Buford went 35 and Lenzelle Smith Jr. 34. Deshaun Thomas played only 23 minutes because of foul trouble.
The real trouble for the Buckeyes was getting no help from the bench.
In their four wins leading to the Final Four, at least one reserve scored nine or more points by himself. In the East Regional win over top-seeded Syracuse, Thompson, Ravenel and Williams combined for 20 points. That was 20 more than they managed against Kansas.