NCAA BK

Defense, Woodson's shooting help Butler beat Winthrop 76-64

Butler's Kethan Savage (11) shoots against Winthrop's Bjorn Broman (13) during the first half of a first-round men's college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament, Thursday, March 16, 2017, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Butler's Kethan Savage (11) shoots against Winthrop's Bjorn Broman (13) during the first half of a first-round men's college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament, Thursday, March 16, 2017, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

MILWAUKEE (AP) Avery Woodson scored 18 points and tied a career high with six 3-pointers in his NCAA Tournament debut to lead Butler to a 76-64 win over Winthrop on Thursday.

Woodson, a graduate transfer from Memphis, hit five 3s in the first half to help the fourth-seeded Bulldogs build a 14-point halftime lead.

A 12-2 run in the middle of the second half gave Butler a 60-43 lead with less than 8 minutes left and put the game out of reach for the 13th-seeded Eagles.

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Xavier Cooks had 23 points to lead Big South champion Winthrop (26-7).

Butler (24-8) looked comfortable all afternoon at the Bradley Center, the home of Big East rival Marquette. The last time the Bulldogs played in Milwaukee, Woodson scored 17 points in a 68-65 victory over Marquette last month.

One more win in Milwaukee and Butler could advance to their fifth Sweet 16 since 2003.