Jack Gohlke sinks 10 treys as Oakland stuns No. 3 Kentucky

League: NCAA Basketball

Posted on: 22 Mar, 2024 at 05:16 AM

Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH -- Jack Gohlke drilled 10 3-pointers en route to 32 points and DQ Cole buried the final triple of the game to clinch No. 14 seed Oakland's 80-76 upset of No. 3 seed Kentucky in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday.

The Golden Grizzlies (24-11) led for nearly the entire second half and went shot for shot with the heavily favored Wildcats (23-10) down the stretch. Oakland advances to the Round of 32 for the first time since joining Division I while handing Kentucky its second first-round exit in three years.

Gohlke, a graduate transfer from Division II Hillsdale, earned his place in NCAA Tournament lore. All 20 of his field-goal attempts came from 3-point range, and he came one shy of tying the tournament single-game record of 11 triples set by Jeff Fryer of Loyola Marymount in 1990.

Oakland, the Horizon League champion, will face No. 11 NC State in the second round Saturday. NC State beat No. 6 Texas Tech 80-67 late Thursday.

Gohlke said in his postgame TV interview that the Golden Grizzlies were not a Cinderella. He told reporters later that has always been his mindset.

"Obviously we come in (as) the underdog by all measures; but, as a player, you can't think that way. You gotta go out there, you gotta think you have the same talent level as them," Gohlke said. "I know they have draft picks, and I know I'm not going to the NBA. But I know on any given night, I can compete with those type of guys, and our team can compete with those type of guys."

In his 40th year leading the program, coach Greg Kampe guided Oakland to its first non-play-in tournament win.

"There was never a doubt in my mind that this was gonna be a game," Kampe said. "Now, I had doubt that we would win, but there was never a doubt that this would be a game, because I've been with this team since June and I know who they are."

Antonio Reeves scored 27 points and went 5-for-9 on 3-point shots in his attempt to carry Kentucky back from the dead. Tre Mitchell had 14 points and 13 rebounds, and Rob Dillingham and Justin Edwards each scored 10.

Gohlke's 10th 3-pointer came with 4:35 left, but Reeves answered right away with his own to cut Kentucky's deficit to 67-65.

After Oakland moved ahead by four, Reed Sheppard fouled Gohlke in the act of shooting a trey. Gohlke buried the first two free throws for a 71-65 advantage.

Edwards hit a corner 3-pointer to halve the margin with 3:06 left. Townsend's turnaround jumper made it 73-68, but Reeves drilled another trey in response.

Oakland made two free throws, and Dillingham's 3-pointer brought Kentucky's deficit to one with 1:03 to go.

Rocket Watts passed from the paint to the left corner to Cole, whose 3-pointer restored a four-point margin with 28 seconds left.

"If you would've been in our huddles the last seven, eight minutes of the game, we said, ‘If we're ahead with six minutes to go in the game, we will win,'" Kampe said. "And they believed that, and they did, because they've done it all year. We win close games."

Kentucky coach John Calipari told CBS postgame that the loss was "painful," just two years after his program fell to 15th-seeded Saint Peter's in the first round.

"The reason is there are other times you lose a game and you know your team is what it is," Calipari said. "But this team I really felt was built for this moment. Even though we were young -- I knew that could catch us."

Gohlke guided Oakland to a 38-35 halftime lead. The Golden Grizzlies missed 12 of their first 13 shots, but they outworked Kentucky on the glass to fire up second and third tries.

Cole made a triple for Oakland's first points before it was Gohlke's turn. Gohlke drilled back-to-back 3-pointers twice in less than a four-minute span, connecting from nearly every spot around the arc.

After Gohlke's fourth make, he fired off a bow-and-arrow celebration. When he made his fifth a minute later, all he could do was stick out his tongue in the direction of his school's pep band.

Reeves twice tied the game with a 3-pointer, and one of Gohlke's teammates answered with a triple the second time. Dillingham scored seven straight Kentucky points for a 35-33 lead with 2:45 left in the half -- and Gohlke banked in his seventh triple a minute later.

Gohlke was asked postgame if he had turned on his phone yet, and if he was ready to be a celebrity.

"I want to be a bigger celebrity after our team wins the next game," Gohlke said. "That's really all I'm thinking about is tomorrow, our prep for either NC State or Texas Tech, and we're gonna go out there and we're gonna win again."

--Adam Zielonka, Field Level Media