NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Walter Offutt left Ohio State after not getting enough minutes. The guard was in the right place at the right time for Ohio’s big win over Michigan.
Offutt grabbed a loose ball, was fouled by Evan Smotrycz and sank both of his free throws with 6.8 seconds left to preserve Ohio’s 65-60 upset of Michigan on Friday night in the second round of the NCAA tournament’s Midwest Regional.
The No. 13 seed Bobcats will face the Temple-South Florida winner Sunday.
Ohio had the Wolverines on their heels throughout the game, but Michigan’s Trey Burke hit a 3 with 4:12 left to cut it to 63-60. But the Wolverines missed their final five shots, including four by the freshman Burke.
On Burke’s third miss, fourth-seeded Michigan (24-10) got the rebound but Smotrycz lost control of the ball in front of the Wolverines bench, and Offutt grabbed it.
Ohio shot 51.2 percent and held Michigan to 40.7 percent shooting, including 7 for 23 from 3-point range, typically the Wolverines’ comfort zone.
The Bobcats returned to the NCAA tournament two years after upsetting third-seeded Georgetown 97-83 as a No. 14 seed. Their 28 wins are a program-best.
D.J. Cooper led the Bobcats with 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting. Offutt scored 11 points, and Ivo Baltic and Reggie Keely both added 10.
Burke scored 12 of his team-high 16 points in the second half. Smotrycz scored 15 points, and Tim Hardaway Jr. had 14.
The teams traded the lead three times and were tied for a fourth time when Baltic spun around in the lane and hit a jumper that launched a 15-2 run for Ohio. Nick Kellogg was left open and sank a 3-pointer that made it 35-22 with 2:49 in the first half.
The Bobcats smothered the Wildcats often deadly perimeter shooting and dared them to go inside. Even though Michigan was the smaller of the two teams, it outscored Ohio in the paint 16-12 in the first half.
Hardaway Jr. managed to get 10 points by halftime, but Zack Novak, Stu Douglass and Burke, who together average 31.9 points per game, combined for just seven points.
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