COLUMBUS — There were reasons to be concerned with how No. 23 Ohio State might handle Tuesday night’s challenge.

Playing a third game in six days that came one day after the Buckeyes climbed into the national rankings and two days before Thanksgiving, a non-marquee opponent like Samford had the ingredients for an upset.

Sprinkle in some adversity caused by a shakeup to the starting lineup designed to send a message about punctuality, and the Bulldogs were happy to take advantage for a while. It took a strong second-half effort, but the Buckeyes remained unbeaten by holding off Samford 68-50 at Value City Arena.

Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann shook up his starting lineup for the first time this season, swapping four players around holdover C.J. Jackson. Freshmen Jaedon LeDee and Duane Washington made their first career starts, graduate transfer Keyshawn Woods made his first start for the Buckeyes and sophomore Musa Jallow made his 11th career start.

According to a team spokesman, Holtmann said former starters Luther Muhammad, Andre Wesson, Kaleb Wesson and Kyle Young were all late to gameday preparation.

The starting lineup entered the game having seen action together in only the Creighton and Purdue Fort Wayne games, putting together a plus-3 rating (13 points scored, 10 allowed) in 3:58. It foreshadowed a rough night for the Buckeyes (5-0), at least until the opening minutes of the second half.

Leading 32-29 at the break, Samford (5-1) doubled that advantage with a Brandon Austin 3-pointer as the Buckeyes committed two turnovers and missed their first two shots of the half.

Ohio State then went inside the Samford zone to find Kaleb Wesson for an easy bucket with 17:12 left, and it would prove to be the start of a massive run.

During the next 8½ minutes, Ohio State tied its offense to its defense, started getting stops and took control with a 21-3 run that flipped the game. It was sparked early on when Jackson leaped over the first row of courtside chairs to save a loose ball, leading to an Andre Wesson 3-pointer to pull the Buckeyes within 35-34 and ignite the crowd.

Young closed the run by scoring six of the final eight points, four of them on offensive rebounds, as Ohio State built a 50-38 lead that not even a ragged finish to the game could decimate.

As Holtmann eventually rotated his customary starters into the lineup, Samford built an early 11-4 lead, one point shy of Ohio State’s biggest deficit of the season. A 7-0 run, with Kaleb Wesson providing five of the points, pulled the Buckeyes even at 11, and they took their first lead of the night with 10:18 to play in the half when Muhammad drilled a 3-pointer from the left corner for a 16-15 lead.

The Bulldogs kept coming, though, behind the play of speedy guard Myron Gordon. By halftime, the junior had scored 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting and the Buckeyes trailed at halftime for the first time this year, 32-29. Samford hit exactly 50.0 percent of its 28 first-half shots for the best shooting performance against Ohio State in a half so far this season, and Ohio State was only 2 for 11 (18.2 percent) from deep.

Holtmann is 5-0 to start a season for the second time in his eight years as a Division I coach and the first time since he started 8-0 during his final year at Butler in 2016-17.