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Ohio trailed by two when Offutt swished a 3-pointer, launching a 10-0 run for the Bobcats. A pair of free throws by D.J. Cooper made it 54-46 with 3:28 left.
The Bobcats had a 59-53 lead when Toarlyn Fitzpatrick connected for South Florida's first 3-pointer of the half. But Cooper went 3 for 4 from the line while the Bulls missed three shots in the final 36 seconds.
"Success breeds success," said Ohio coach John Groce, who has led the Bobcats to their second NCAA tournament in four years. "It builds more confidence."
Cincinnati and Florida State traded the lead 19 times and were tied 11, and neither team led by more than three in the second half until the Bearcats scored seven straight points.
Sean Kilpatrick hit a free throw tying it up at 50 points, and then Dion Dixon stole the ball from Luke Loucks in front of the Cincinnati bench as Florida State tried to bring the ball up against the Bearcats' press. Dixon took off and dunked to put Cincinnati ahead for good with 1:32 left.
Cashmere Wright hit a jumper, and Yancy Gates added two free throws for 56-50 lead with 35.3 seconds left. The Bearcats sealed it by hitting all eight free throws in the final 35.3 seconds.
The Seminoles led 29-28 at halftime and were up by five in the first half. But the Bearcats hit 11 of 21 (52.4 percent) overall and 12 of 13 at the free throw line. Cincinnati had a big edge at the line (19 of 23) overall compared to Florida State (12 of 15).
"We're thinking way better than that. We're trying to get past the Sweet 16 and do bigger and better things," Cincinnati guard JaQuon Parker said.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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