KNOXVILLE, Tenn. » Oakland coach Greg Kampe kept telling his players they were just as good as the ranked opponents they have been playing this season. In their fourth game against a Top 25 team, they finally got their upset.
Keith Benson, last season’s Summit League player of the year, had 26 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Golden Grizzlies to an 89-82 victory over No. 7 Tennessee last night.
They took lessons from games in which they played Illinois and Purdue, both ranked teams from the Big Ten, close but not for a full 40 minutes. They almost beat then-No. 7 Michigan State, also of the Big Ten, on Saturday but lost by a point after they failed to make free throws down the stretch.
"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. I think those are big and can help us."
Oakland (6-5) put together a tough schedule this season to prepare them to make another run at winning the Summit League and an NCAA Tournament appearance. The win over the Vols was just the Grizzlies’ second against a Top 25 opponent in 27 tries since joining Division I in 1998, and they still have a Dec. 23 date with No. 2 Ohio State.
It was only the second time Tennessee (7-1) has lost on its home court to a nonconference opponent in coach Bruce Pearl’s six seasons. The loss came one day after the Vols climbed into the top 10 and grabbed the No. 1 RPI after beating then-No. 3 Pittsburgh.
"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.
Drexel 52, No. 20 Louisville 46
Gerald Colds scored 20 points and the visiting Dragons stunned the Cardinals, handing them their first loss in their new downtown arena.
Chris Fouch added 10 points for Drexel (7-1), which ended Louisville’s best start in 14 years by slowing the tempo and turning up the pressure on both ends of the court.
Louisville (8-1) shot 32 percent and were outrebounded 46-26.
No. 22 Texas 70, North Florida 48
Senior forward Gary Johnson scored 17 points and tied his career high with 12 rebounds, helping the Longhorns (8-2) coast past the visiting Mean Green (4-6).
Louisiana Tech 80, Houston Baptist 57
Olu Ashaolu scored 21 points and had a season-high 13 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season as the Bulldogs (8-4) defeated the Huskies (1-8). Ashaolu was 10-for-13 from the field to help Louisiana Tech snap a three-game road losing streak.