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Ohio beats South Florida to reach Sweet 16

Nashville, TN (Sports Network) - Walter Offutt scored a game-high 21 points and Ohio defeated South Florida, 62-56, on Sunday to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since the tournament expanded to 64 teams.

D.J. Cooper added 19 points, seven assists and six rebounds for Ohio (29-7), which became the first No. 13 seed to reach the Sweet 16 since Bradley in 2006.

The Bobcats will now face No. 1 seed North Carolina in the Midwest Regional semifinal game on Friday.

"We're not doing anything differently, coach is just telling us to come out swinging from the start," said Offutt. "You know, we just came out aggressively and hit some shots and it rolled from there."

Victor Rudd Jr. had 13 points and 10 rebounds for 12th-seeded South Florida (22-14). Anthony Collins also netted 13 points for the Bulls, while Augustus Gilchrist contributed 12 points and five rebounds in the loss.

"Of course I was upset that we lost, but I'm not disappointed because we played hard the whole time," said Rudd. "I know this is going to set the tone for our team for next year."

South Florida held a 27-21 advantage entering the second half and was able to keep Ohio at arm's length over the first four minutes of the half until Offutt scored five straight points to tie the game at 31.

It remained a one-possession game over the next six minutes until a pair of Collins free throws were followed by a Jawanza Poland dunk to put USF ahead, 42-37, just past the midpoint of the half.

A personal 6-0 run by Nick Kellogg put the Bobcats back on top, but after Collins' layup gave the Bulls a 46-44 lead two possessions later, Ohio reeled off a 10-0 run to take a 54-46 advantage with 3:28 left in the game.

The Bulls were able to close the gap to three, 59-56, with a Toarlyn Fitzpatrick three-pointer with 49.5 seconds on the clock, but Cooper converted on two foul shots on the other end and after Collins missed a three on USF's ensuing possession, Cooper made 1-of-2 foul shots to seal the win for Ohio.

Ohio recorded the game's first five points when Offutt followed his own layup with a shot from beyond the arc, but South Florida answered with six straight points by Gilchrist to take the lead.

After a 7-0 spurt by the Bobcats put them back on top, 12-6, Rudd's dunk sparked a 13-1 run by USF that included a nine-minute stretch without an Ohio field goal to jump out to a 19-13 lead.

T.J. Hall stopped the offensive slump with a trey and Offutt followed with a layup to close the gap to one, but the Bulls closed out the first half with an 8-3 spurt and held a 27-21 lead at the break.

USF shot 40.7 percent from the floor and turned the ball over 10 times, while Ohio was held to a 30.4 percent shooting performance with nine turnovers in a defensive first half.

Game Notes

Ohio is just the fourth 13 seed all-time to reach the Sweet 16...The Bobcats have won both meetings between the teams...South Florida outscored Ohio in the paint, 32-12...Ohio shot 50.0 percent in the second half...South Florida made 47.4 percent of its shots in the final 20 minutes.

03/18 23:54:01 ET