Hamilton hits 35 as Oakland stops Tennessee 89-81

Oakland coach Greg Kampe on team's win over Vols

ROCHESTER, Mich. — Last season, Oakland beating Tennessee was an upset.

This year, the Golden Grizzlies expected it.

One season after an 89-82 victory in Knoxville — Oakland's first win over a Top 10 team — the Grizzlies beat the Volunteers 89-81 Monday night behind 35 points from Reggie Hamilton.

"This program is now to a point where we think we can play with anyone in the country, and if we get them here, we can beat anyone in the country," said Oakland coach Greg Kampe. "That wasn't true 10 years ago, and that shows you the progress we've made since we moved to Division I."

Oakland has won the Summit League tournament the last two seasons, but before Monday, it had multiple wins over only one major-conference school. The Golden Grizzlies beat Oregon in 2007 and 2008.

"I think I'm more excited this time than I was a year ago," Hamilton said. "Last year we had an NBA player in Keith Benson and another pro prospect in Will Hudson. With those guys gone, no one expected us to be good again this year."

Oakland normally plays marquee opponents at the nearby Palace of Auburn Hills, so this was just its sixth game against a major-conference opponent at the 4,000-seat O'Rena, and the first in seven years. The Grizzlies are 3-3 in such games, having also beaten Michigan in 2000 and Texas A&M in 2003.

"I played in Big Ten country, so I knew what to expect when we came into this building," said first-year Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin.

"It was an incredible atmosphere, and you could tell that Oakland's players fed off it."

Kampe knows that the game, which drew 3,755, will make it harder to get another big school to come to Oakland's campus, about 30 miles north of Detroit. The Golden Grizzlies have won 43 of their last 45 home games.

"Our fans expected us to win this game, and our fans made sure we did win this game," Kampe said. "We were on national TV tonight, and we wanted to show Oakland basketball to the world.

"Our student section was unbelievable, and our fans were unbelievable. That's why we won this game."

Drew Valentine scored 15 points for Oakland, and Laval Lucas-Perry had 14. The Grizzlies shot 91 percent (28 of 31) from the free throw line and pulled down 17 offensive rebounds to Tennessee's 20 defensive rebounds.

"Oakland did a great job of attacking the boards, but we could have done a better job of stopping them," Martin said. "It is just a matter of putting a body on people, and we didn't do that."

Jordan McRae led the Volunteers with 25, while Cameron Tatum had 19.

Jeronne Maymon, who had 32 points and 20 rebounds against Memphis in Maui, finished with eight points and six rebounds.

"I saw what Maymon did in Maui, so I knew I was going to have a tough time against him," Valentine said. "I pride myself on defense, especially off the ball, and I did everything I could tonight. Believe me, I got a lot of help."

Oakland led 62-52 with 10:15 to play, but the Volunteers scored the next seven points to get back into the game. Hamilton answered with a 3-pointer and a layup to move the margin to eight, and the Grizzlies got a break when Kenny Hall's tip-in came to a stop on the back of the rim.

"I didn't tell myself that I needed to take over the game — I just wanted to get back into the flow," said Hamilton, whose eight points came immediately after a rest. "My teammates got the ball in a position to score, and I finished it off."

Valentine then hit a 3-pointer that gave Oakland a 73-65 lead with 3:51 to play, and the Golden Grizzlies grabbed enough offensive rebounds to hold off the Volunteers down the stretch.

The Grizzlies retired Benson's No. 34 jersey at halftime. Benson, who had 20 points and 10 rebounds in last year's upset of the Volunteers, became Oakland's first draft pick when he was taken by the Atlanta Hawks in June.

"We loved having Keith here — you can tell that from what we did at halftime," Kampe said. "But we won a lot of games before Keith Benson played here, and we're going to win a lot of games after him. That's the way we have built this program."

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Comments » 20

bUTchVFL writes:

Did anyone see the fan in an orange t-shirt behind the announcers holding up the sign that said "Fire the Lawyer"? I might expect that at a home game, but not one in Michigan. Going to be a tough off-season.

jack_2222#231746 writes:

Trae Golden is in crums today the way he got toasted last nite.

VolAtUGA11 writes:

I heard Hamilton, before leaving, asked to replace Oakland with Buffalo in the schedule. Too bad it didn't stick.

CoverOrange writes:

I wonder if Mike Hamilton wrote down Kampe's name after the game last year against Oakland like he did Martin's after the Missouri St game.

Someone needs to remind Maymon that he is part of a team.

Orangeblood13 writes:

Pitt by 25

RUstilltalking writes:

This is will be a Dooley repeat.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

If someone had knocked R. Hamilton out in the first 5 minutes we would have won.

OR we could have boxed out on D. OR we could have collapsed on Hamilton when he drove the lane. OR We could have put Washpun on him earlier. OR we could have fouled out their big kid. OR we could have not turned the ball over. OR we could have made more shots.

Sometimes everything goes the other way.

OR we could have just forfeited and saved our energy for PITT.!

Horrible game. BUT the best teams do that sometimes.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to untimed_vols_ghost:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Maybe.

Peterson didn't stay long enough to do much some would say?

Anyhow Martin hasn't been here long enough to judge properly. I was glad to see us trying to stay in the game when a lot of things were against us with poor shooting and outgunned by one player who pretty much took over the game. I don't think Martin expected that even if He did know the kid. Hamilton was playing against a Defense that mostly watched him run by(sometimes with not enough dribbles it seemed but that doesn't matter really). We were standing around on D. It was hard for Golden to play a better man. Washpun was quicker last night against Hamilton but ineffective in leading the offense at times.
We actually played pretty decent offense for a new team. I thought our defense sucked. I'm still believing Martin will fix that.

kazoo writes:

Where is the defense? You can't give up 89 and expect to win. Terrible.

SweetBlackMagic writes:

Well, so much for those "moral victories" over Duke and Memphis.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to untimed_vols_ghost:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

His recruiting, to this point, has been awful. He's replacing the greatest coach in the history of a program, historically they fail rightly (Zook) or wrongly (Solich), but I don't see us getting to the NCAA tournament in the next three years with the recruits he is bringing in. The question will be in three years, with zero tournament appearances, whether or not we care about having a top flight basketball program or whether we're content with the 2nd coming of Buzz Ball.

hcjournals#206623 writes:

OMG....We just went through 5 months of this....I know it's going to take time, but....When are we going to get a break? At least the women's volleyball team won the SEC championship. That helps...

Orangeblood13 writes:

in response to untimed_vols_ghost:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

i hope your right my friend

CincyOhVol writes:

in response to RUstilltalking:

This is will be a Dooley repeat.

Dooley can't coach. Two years and no improvement.

Martin is the real deal. Give him two seasons and we will be top 25.

Ironcity writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

His recruiting, to this point, has been awful. He's replacing the greatest coach in the history of a program, historically they fail rightly (Zook) or wrongly (Solich), but I don't see us getting to the NCAA tournament in the next three years with the recruits he is bringing in. The question will be in three years, with zero tournament appearances, whether or not we care about having a top flight basketball program or whether we're content with the 2nd coming of Buzz Ball.

Who is martin bringing to campus in 2013? You seemed to know I would like to know so i can get excited.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

If someone had knocked R. Hamilton out in the first 5 minutes we would have won.

OR we could have boxed out on D. OR we could have collapsed on Hamilton when he drove the lane. OR We could have put Washpun on him earlier. OR we could have fouled out their big kid. OR we could have not turned the ball over. OR we could have made more shots.

Sometimes everything goes the other way.

OR we could have just forfeited and saved our energy for PITT.!

Horrible game. BUT the best teams do that sometimes.

Some good points here. My biggest disappointment so far is that the Vols aren't boxing out on the defensive boards the way Martin said they would. Back in the Dark Ages when I played, boxing out was just one of the fundamentals of the game a player had to learn if he expected to play in games. Modern players grow up expecting to just out-jump everybody for rebounds. They don't think about getting rebound position until the ball is in the air, if then. I wouldn't be surprised if Martin is teaching it but the players just haven't internalized it yet. That is something they MUST fix. I will know they have when I see five butts in five bellies just ONCE in a game.

As for your other points, the help defense needs a LOT of work also. I like the active way the big men hedge out on ball-handlers on the perimeter, but they need to do a better job of showing themselves in the gaps BEFORE opponents try to penetrate. If a big guy can hedge on the perimeter 25' from the basket and run back to get his guy on the block, surely he can slide a step-and-a-half to discourage a drive before the ball-handler turns the corner.

Also, as you suggested, the offense still lacks cohesion. I can see roles being defined, but the frequent substitutions one expects in the early going with a new team are preventing them from KNOWING what everyone should do in a particular situation. I expect the bench to shorten a bit by the time conference play rolls around.

Finally, Oakland just shot the lights out last night. Hamilton got every big bucket they needed, too often after the Vols failed to secure a defensive rebound. Everybody in the gym who wasn't wearing orange or on the Vol bench considered that game one of their biggest of the season; the Vols failed to muster the energy or cohesion to match that mindset. There is still much to like about this team, especially the way McRae is playing more under control and Tatum becoming more active on both ends, but LOTS of work to do before they can go toe-to-toe with the upper-tier SEC teams.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

WE DO NOT NEED A NEW COACH!
Leave it ALONE KNS!!
You're all crazy to think getting another coach is always the answer. At least let the coaches we have fail.
Honestly I haven't watched enough football to judge. But Dooley seems to be getting some pretty good 4 stars coming in. MAYBE a coupla 5 stars? He may need a coodinator or 2 I don't know.
Martin is just now learning the team he has. We all know that it'll take some games to coach them up. To me they've shown progress over last year. Look at McRae. Look at Maymon. Hall IS progressing even if it's too slow. He's holding up better underneath and isn't slapping as much. Woolridge is much better just from not shooting the 3s and playing inside. Tatum is much better than he was showing last year. You're all crazy to want to get rid of Martin this early...besides no other top coach would want to come here at this time I think. I for one am not giving up on Martin as long as I see some growth as a team. I'm glad we played this Hamilton kid because we'll see 2 or 3 of those on some of the teams we'll play. We have some talent too and we'll win some late and lose some of the early ones. That's just the way it has to be for now.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Some good points here. My biggest disappointment so far is that the Vols aren't boxing out on the defensive boards the way Martin said they would. Back in the Dark Ages when I played, boxing out was just one of the fundamentals of the game a player had to learn if he expected to play in games. Modern players grow up expecting to just out-jump everybody for rebounds. They don't think about getting rebound position until the ball is in the air, if then. I wouldn't be surprised if Martin is teaching it but the players just haven't internalized it yet. That is something they MUST fix. I will know they have when I see five butts in five bellies just ONCE in a game.

As for your other points, the help defense needs a LOT of work also. I like the active way the big men hedge out on ball-handlers on the perimeter, but they need to do a better job of showing themselves in the gaps BEFORE opponents try to penetrate. If a big guy can hedge on the perimeter 25' from the basket and run back to get his guy on the block, surely he can slide a step-and-a-half to discourage a drive before the ball-handler turns the corner.

Also, as you suggested, the offense still lacks cohesion. I can see roles being defined, but the frequent substitutions one expects in the early going with a new team are preventing them from KNOWING what everyone should do in a particular situation. I expect the bench to shorten a bit by the time conference play rolls around.

Finally, Oakland just shot the lights out last night. Hamilton got every big bucket they needed, too often after the Vols failed to secure a defensive rebound. Everybody in the gym who wasn't wearing orange or on the Vol bench considered that game one of their biggest of the season; the Vols failed to muster the energy or cohesion to match that mindset. There is still much to like about this team, especially the way McRae is playing more under control and Tatum becoming more active on both ends, but LOTS of work to do before they can go toe-to-toe with the upper-tier SEC teams.

Hmmm You must have gotten on when I did. While I was typing the above short novel I thought about the rebounding that I didn't include in the post in which you responded. Our rebounding lacked more than against Duke. Surprising to me at least

johnlg00 writes:

in response to untimed_vols_ghost:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Good points as usual. The bit about going under screens was spot on. It was clear that Oakland was relying heavily on the three-pointer but the Vols were rarely up on them on the arc.

Of course, they were also getting burned on the drives because the big men weren't discouraging the drives by showing themselves in the gaps. In fact, the big men didn't get much done at all, especially in allowing all those offensive rebounds.

Yeah, I know, "big men" is a somewhat relative term for this team, but they have to at least TRY to play like big men, as you suggested in your observation about Makenjuola getting shoved. Right now, it is a shame how much farther along Maymon is compared to the rest of them, even though he didn't have a good game last night.

Finally, I am pretty sure you don't share the opinion that Martin is or should be on the hot-seat this early, though that sentiment is surely out there, rightly or--IMHO--wrongly. I think we will see a strong effort at Pitt, and I wouldn't be shocked if they got the win.

oldvoltimer62 writes:

Vols need to recruit a true center in the middle by next season that can put up solid numbers to go with the young talent.If that can happen Vols can make a lot of noise in the SEC.

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