Oakland coach Greg Kampe told his players they were as good as the ranked opponents they have played this season. In their fourth game against a Top 25 team, they got their upset.
Keith Benson had 26 points and 10 rebounds and visiting Oakland beat No. 7 Tennessee, 89-82, last night, 3 days after losing by a point to then-No. 7 Michigan State.
It was the Golden Grizzlies' second win over a ranked opponent in 27 tries and only the second time the Volunteers have lost on their home court to a nonconference opponent in coach Bruce Pearl's six seasons. The loss came a day after Tennessee climbed into the Top 10 after beating Pittsburgh.
Oakland, the defending Summit League champion whose campus is located north of Detroit, put together a tough schedule this season to prepare it to make another run at an NCAA Tournament appearance.
"We're not scared of anybody," Kampe said. "We weren't intimidated by the No. 7 team in the country because we had just played Michigan State, and we should have won that game. We had just played Illinois, and we could have won that game."
The Vols held a 76-68 lead with 7:18 left, but their physical play inside drew foul after foul. Oakland (6-5) used a 13-0 run of mostly free throws and took an 81-76 lead that it would not relinquish.
Brian Williams led the Vols (7-1) with 18 points and 13 rebounds.
"This was a combination of running into a good basketball team and not being able to handle success despite our best efforts to get our team excited about playing," Pearl said.
Melvin Goins also had 18 points.
"Any loss is a letdown. It hurts. We just have to get this taste out of our mouth," he said. "The attitude wasn't the same. The hunger wasn't there as much. There were lapses during practice and during walkthroughs."
In other games:
* At Texas, Gary Johnson had 17 points and 12 rebounds and Cory Joseph had 18 points as the No. 22 Longhorns (8-2) coasted past North Florida, 70-48.
* At Michigan, Darius Morris had 12 points as the Wolverines (8-2) beat North Carolina Central, 64-44, for their fifth straight win.
In a women's game:
* At Baylor, Odyssey Sims had 24 points as the No. 2 Lady Bears (10-1) defeated No. 6 Tennessee, 65-54. The Lady Vols (9-2) were led by Meighan Simmons' 22 points.
* No. 4 Connecticut added 7-1 center Enosch Wolf to the roster. Wolf, from Goettingen, Germany, committed to the Huskies in July. * Charlotte coach Alan Major dismissed top scorer Shamari Spears from the team, a little more than 2 weeks after he was suspended for the third time in two seasons for violating unspecified rules. *