Top 10, Top 5, Tennessee doesn't care. To the Volunteers, the only way to beat good teams is to play them, even if it's far away from Knoxville.
Even if it's in Pittsburgh, where non-conference opponents go years and years without winning.
Scotty Hopson missed only three shots while slicing through No. 3 Pitt's defense for a career-high 27 points, and No. 11 Tennessee dealt the Panthers their first non-conference loss in Pittsburgh in nearly six years, winning 83-76 on Saturday.
Melvin Goins added 19 points and Cameron Tatum hit a succession of big shots while scoring 14 points as the Volunteers (7-0) opened leads of as many as 21 points against the Panthers (10-1). Pitt needed a late flurry to cut the final margin to single digits.
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Brad Wanamaker scored 21 points, but Pitt — missing 17 free throws — lost a non-conference game in the city for the first time in 58 games, or since a Jan. 2, 2005 loss to Bucknell.
Tennessee plays more ranked non-conference opponents than Pitt, and the Vols' confidence level in playing such games showed.
"We've always played a tough schedule and tried to play a tough schedule," Coach Bruce Pearl said. "When the opportunity presents itself, if you want to be a Top 25 program, you've got to act like one. The way you act like it is in scheduling."
Mississippi 84, Ark.-Little Rock 70: Chris Warren scored 18 points and Zach Graham added 17 to lead a balanced Mississippi scoring attack at Arkansas-Little Rock (6-4). Mississippi (5-2) built a 14-0 lead and never trailed.
Providence 82, Alabama 70: Marshon Brooks matched his career high with 33 points and had eight rebounds for host Providence (10-2), which went on a 19-3 run in the second half to put the game out of reach. Brooks has scored at least 25 points in six straight games. Tony Mitchell scored 20 points for Alabama (4-5).
Rutgers 63, Auburn 54: Dane Miller had 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Rutgers (6-2) overcame an early seven-point deficit to beat cold-shooting Auburn in the SEC-Big East Invitational in Pittsburgh. Auburn (3-5) shot 30.2 percent (16 of 53). "We missed 15 layups," Auburn Coach Tony Barbee said. "You can't miss layups and win."
South Carolina 64, Wofford 53: Sam Muldrow had 14 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks and freshman Bruce Ellington added a team-high 18 points as host South Carolina (7-1) held on for its sixth straight win. Wofford (4-6) opened the second half on a 14-2 run to tie the game at 34 before the Gamecocks pulled away.
East Tennessee State 63, Mississippi State 62: Micah Williams scored 18 points and hit a game-winning layup to lead visiting East Tennessee State (4-4) over Mississippi State (4-2). The Bulldogs led 38-25 at the half but struggled for offense late. Kodi Augustus missed a contested layup in the final seconds that could have won the game.
LSU 59, Central Michigan 55: Andre Stringer made four foul shots in the final minute to lead host LSU over Central Michigan. Following a steal by Malcolm White, Stringer made two free throws with 37 seconds remaining to give the Tigers (6-2) a 55-53 lead. The Chippewas (2-6) lost their chance to tie when Jaylin Thomas was called for traveling with 14 seconds left.
No. 1 Duke 84, Saint Louis 47: Nolan Smith scored 15 of his 22 points in the first half, and host Duke (10-0) routed Saint Louis (3-4) to claim its 20th straight win. Mike Krzyzewski moved within one victory of North Carolina's Dean Smith for second place on the men's all-time wins list. Coach K has 878 career victories and can tie his former longtime rival on Dec. 20 against Elon. The only man ahead of them is Krzyzewski's coach and mentor, Bob Knight, who has 902 wins.
No. 4 Kansas 76, Colorado State 55: Markieff Morris had 12 points and 11 rebounds, and Elijah Johnson scored six points in a 12-0 run in the second half for Kansas in Kansas City, Mo. Kansas improved to 9-0 for the second straight year.
Andy Ogide had 12 points for Colorado State (4-3), which was outrebounded 50-30.
No. 5 Kansas St. 68, Loyola of Chicago 60: Jacob Pullen scored 19 points to help the visiting Wildcats (9-1) hold on for their fifth straight win. Ben Averkamp scored 17 points for Loyola (8-3), which hasn't beaten a top-five team in 26 years.
No. 7 Michigan State 77, Oakland 76: Kalin Lucas scored 25 points to help Michigan State (7-3) hold off Oakland (5-5) in Auburn Hills, Mich. Lucas made a three-pointer and a jumper late in the game to prevent the Golden Grizzlies from getting closer than two points until Reggie Hamilton made a three with 0.4 of a second left.
No. 8 Syracuse 100, Colgate 43: Rick Jackson had 18 points and 10 rebounds, his eighth double-double of the season, and host Syracuse (10-0) got its 45th consecutive victory in the series with Colgate (0-8). It matched the largest margin of victory for the Orange in Jim Boeheim's 35 years as head coach, tying the 57-point margin in a 129-72 win over C.W. Post 21 years ago to the day.
No. 22 Minnesota 71, E. Kentucky 58: Ralph Sampson III had 19 points, eight rebounds and four assists to help host Minnesota (9-1) overcome a ragged start and overtake Eastern Kentucky (5-5). The Colonels were outscored 30-3 over a stretch of nearly 17 minutes bridging the intermission.
"That really gets me fired up," Gophers Coach Tubby Smith said. "That makes me happy when I see that type of play."
This was also EKU's first game against a nationally ranked team since playing No. 10 Duke on Nov. 25, 2007.
"I made some mistakes on defense and missed some easy shots," said EKU's Justin Stommes, who scored 19 points. "I can always do better, but I did all right."
Transylvania 66, Rose-Hulman 63: Barrett Meyer went 3-for-4 from the line in the final 17 seconds, helping host Transylvania (5-2, 3-1) hold off Rose-Hulman (6-2, 3-1) in a Heartland Conference matchup.
Rose-Hulman, which trailed by 23 points in the first half, pulled to within 64-63 on a Blake Knotts three-pointer with 11 seconds left. But Meyer hit both foul shots with five seconds left, and Austin Weatherford's three rimmed out at the buzzer.
Western Kentucky 53, Southern Illinois 46: Steffphon Pettigrew scored 15 points to lead host Western Kentucky (5-5), which rallied from a 13-point first-half deficit. Southern Illinois (5-5) outrebounded WKU 42-22 but had 23 turnovers.
Juan Patillo, WKU's leading scorer, was held to five points.
Murray State 73, Chattanooga 65: Ivan Aska came off the bench to post his first double-double of the season with 17 points and 12 rebounds, leading visiting Murray State (5-4). The Racers, who led by 19 in the first half, allowed Chattanooga (4-6) to close to 54-50 with 8:15 left. But Murray State went 9-for-10 from the line in the final 3:34.
West Liberty 109, Northern Kentucky 91: Visiting NKU (6-2) shot 55.9 percent from the field, made 12 threes and still lost at West Liberty (8-0), ranked No. 4 in NCAA Division II. West Liberty had three 20-point scorers, led by Jordan Fortney's 24 points and seven three-pointers. Bobby Shannon and Tony Rack had 19 points apiece for NKU.
Bellarmine 97, IU-Southeast 70: Jeremy Kendle scored a game-high 26 points to lead Bellarmine (7-0), No. 1 in the NABC poll, to the rout of IU-Southeast (7-5).
Central Arkansas 61, Eastern Kentucky 52: Visiting EKU (4-5) erased a 14-point deficit but couldn't hang on against Central Arkansas (5-4). Marie Carpenter, whose three-pointer gave EKU a 41-40 lead, led the Lady Colonels with 14 points.
Transylvania 54, Rose-Hulman 51: Olivia Akridge had 14 points, and host Transy (5-3, 2-2 HCAC) overcame a nine-point deficit in the first half. Alisa Dickerson had 13 points for Rose-Hulman (3-4, 2-2), which committed 29 turnovers.
Union University 66, Campbellsville 63: Union (12-0), ranked No. 1 in NAIA Division, got 31 points and 14 rebounds from Sarah Chan and ended No. 4 Campbellsville's 29-game home winning streak.
Whitney Ballinger of Campbellsville (7-2) led all scorers with 32 points and added 11 rebounds, three blocks and two steals. She went 15-for-28 from the field.