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Friday, March 16,2012

’Cats ambush Michigan in NCAA's second round

Ohio faces South Florida on Sunday

Photo Credits: Dustin Franz
Photo Caption: Revelers celebrate on Court Street after Ohio University beat Michigan 65-60 in the NCAA Tournament Friday night.

In a day of stunning upsets in the men's NCAA tournament, Ohio University pulled off one of its own, defeating Michigan 65 to 60 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

This is the second time in three years that Ohio (28-7) has snagged an upset in its first game in the tournament. They beat Georgetown in 2010 before falling in the round of 32.

With Friday night's victory over fourth-seed Michigan under their belts, the 13-seed 'Cats go on to play South Florida (12) on Sunday. South Florida shocked four-seed Temple, 58-44.

The 'Cats weren't the highest seed to pull off an upset on Friday. Lehigh (15) ambushed Duke (2), while Norfolk State (15) knocked off Missouri (2). In the days leading up to the game, more than one national college basketball expert picked Ohio as a likely upset special.

In beating Michigan, Ohio held the lead throughout the second half, though the Wolverines inched to within three with 4:12 left with a three-pointer by Trey Burke. Then Michigan proceeded to miss their last five shots.

Ohio played aggressive defense the whole game, holding Michigan to 40.7 percent shooting. The 'Cats were shooting 100 percent on free-throw attempts until midway through the second half when junior guard D.J. Cooper missed one. The ended the game hitting 15 of 17 from the foul line.

Ohio shot 51.2 percent, with Cooper, the MVP of the MAC Tournament, shooting 7 for 11 for a game-high 21 points.

Also in double figures were junior Walter Offutt, junior Ivo Baltic and junior Reggie Keely, who scored 11,10 and 10 points, respectively.

The Bobcats never trailed in the second half of the game and held Michigan without a field goal in the final four minutes of the game to secure the victory.

Up at the University of Michigan, that school whose football coach likes to call Ohio State "Ohio," a local news website,, led off its game story this way:

"Whether it's the real Ohio, the true Ohio or the original Ohio doesn't much matter now.

"The Michigan basketball team's season is now over.

"No matter how you say it.

"The 13th-seeded Ohio Bobcats got 21 points and five assists from point guard D.J. Cooper and led basically wire-to-wire, crashing fourth-seeded Michigan's NCAA Tournament party with a 65-60 win in the second round of Midwest Regional play in Nashville, Tenn."


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