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Oakland upends No. 7 Tennessee in Knoxville

Dec 15, 2010 - 5:27 AM Knoxville, TN (Sports Network) - Keith Benson led all scorers with 26 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, as Oakland used a big second half to upset seventh- ranked Tennessee, 89-82, at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Larry Wright finished with 19 points and six assists, while Will Hudson chipped in with 17 points and nine rebounds for Oakland (6-5), which snapped a two-game slide.

"The ball bounced our way," Oakland head coach Greg Kampe said. "There were a couple things that happened. There was a scrum underneath that we picked up and laid it in. When you play a team like Tennessee on their floor, you've got to get lucky too. I'm not going to sit here and say that we weren't."

Oakland, the defending Summit League champion and preseason conference favorite, finished a three-game swing against ranked opponents and finally got its signature win. On Wednesday, the Grizzlies led Illinois for nearly 25 minutes before dropping a 74-63 decision and lost to Michigan State on Saturday, 77-76.

Brian Williams turned in a double-double with 18 points and 13 boards for Tennessee (7-1), which came into the contest fresh off an impressive 83-76 win at Pittsburgh on Saturday and were off to a fast start under head coach Bruce Pearl. Melvin Goins ended with 18 points in defeat.

"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. "One of the challenges of playing such a challenging schedule night in and night out is what you put your team through. That is clearly something I could have assessed better the last couple of days. I think we will learn from it."

Trailing, 74-66, with 7:55 to play, Oakland used a 15-2 run to surge in front, 81-76, with 2:39 remaining. Wright's two at the stripe tied things a 76-all with 5:09 to go, and Hudson's free throw and layup sandwiched around a Benson jumper, gave the Grizzlies five-point lead, 81-76, with 2:39 on the clock.

Williams' 1-of-2 effort from the line with 1:10 remaining cut the Vols' deficit to three, 82-79, but Wright hit from beyond the arc with 38 ticks to go to stretch the Grizzlies' lead to six, and they would hold on in the closing seconds.

Benson hit a three-pointer just past the midway point of the opening half to put Oakland ahead, 26-22, but Williams' layup capped a 16-5 run to put Tennessee up by a 38-31 score with 5:20 left before the break.

Tobias Harris' fastbreak layup stretched the Volunteers' lead to double- digits, 45-35, with 2:15 left, and they took a 50-39 advantage into the locker room.

Game Notes

This was the first time these two teams have met on the hardwood...Harris and Cameron Tatum finished with 16 and 13 points, respectively, for Tennessee, which shot 44.4 percent from the field...Oakland made 53.6 percent of its shots, including 7-of-18 from three-point range.