Nelson scores 22 points, Oakland upsets No. 23 Oregon 68-62
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP)—Greg Kampe has been coaching at little-known Oakland University longer than any of his players have been alive.
None of it prepared him for Saturday night.
His Golden Grizzlies overcame a 20-0 second-half run and stunned No. 23 Oregon 68-62—the first win over a top-25 team in school history.
Kampe started at Oakland in 1984, when the program was still in Division II and called the Pioneers.
There have been other important moments in Oakland’s 10 Division I seasons, including a 2000 win over Michigan and a victory over Alabama A&M in the 2005 NCAA tournament’s play-in game, but Kampe put Saturday at the top.
“This is the most important game in my 24 years here,” said an emotional Kampe. “People might say ‘You beat Michigan and you won an NCAA tournament game,’ but this is the biggest.”
The game was played at the Palace of Auburn Hills as the second half of a doubleheader that also included No. 9 Michigan State’s 78-72 win over No. 4 Texas.
“We were the only school on the marquee that didn’t have a number next to our name, but we showed people tonight how good we can be,” Kampe said.
Derick Nelson led Oakland with 22 points and nine rebounds.
“This means a lot to me and to the rest of our players, but it means more to the program,” Nelson said. “This is about all the players who helped bring Oakland to Division I and the players that will be here in the future.”
Oakland (5-6) was only supposed to be the backdrop at a homecoming party for Oregon’s two leading scorers, Detroit natives Malik Hairston and Tajuan Porter.
The duo won a state championship at Renaissance High School in Detroit in 2004, but struggled in their return. They average a combined 34.6 points, but had only 16 on 5-of-22 shooting against Oakland. Porter was just 1-of-9.
“It’s always tough when you bring players back into their home environment for the first time, and have them play in front of all their families and friends,” said Oregon coach Ernie Kent. “T.P. is usually in attack mode all the time, and tonight he looked tentative. It wasn’t a good night for him.”
The Ducks (8-3) were playing for the first time since losing 88-79 in overtime to Nebraska on Dec. 15.
“In these two games—in all three of our losses—we’ve gotten outworked and out-toughed,” Kent said. “This is a veteran team, and we shouldn’t be overlooking anyone, especially not on the road. Not the way we’ve been playing.”
The upset looked doubtful when the Ducks used their 20-0 run to take a 46-39 lead with 14:33 left. Oakland missed nine straight shots and didn’t score for nearly six minutes.
“We weren’t prepared at the start of the second half,” Nelson said. “We knew they were going to go on a run, and they did. After that, we just got back to what we had been doing.”
The Golden Grizzlies came right back, rallying to take a 53-52 lead on Nelson’s layup with 7:37 left. After a Hairston put-back, Erik Kangas hit a 3-pointer to give Oakland a two-point edge.
“For those six minutes, we were playing defense the way we are supposed to play it,” Kent said. “We didn’t get much from our bench, which has been a problem this year, and we didn’t continue to play that way.”
The margin got as high as six, but Porter’s only basket of the game, a 3-pointer, tied it at 60 with three minutes left.
Nelson put Oakland back ahead with two free throws, and after Hairston was called for traveling, Johnathan Jones made it 64-60 from the line.
Porter missed a 3-pointer, then turned the ball over with 47 seconds left, forcing Oregon to start fouling.
The Golden Grizzlies missed two free throws in the final seconds, but it wasn’t enough to allow the Ducks back into the game.
“It would have been great to not give up that lead and just cruise to a 15-point win, but I think this is better,” Kampe said. “We played in this building, in front of 22,000 fans, and we were able to come back and beat a top-25 team after giving up a lead.