NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament First Round-Kentucky v Oakland

No. 14 seed Oakland pulled off the biggest upset of the 2024 NCAA Tournament so far, downing No. 3 seed Kentucky 80-76 in a first-round stunner to advance to the second round for the first time in program history. The Golden Grizzlies blitzed the Wildcats with a barrage of 3-pointers led by Jack Gohlke, who became just the fifth player to make 10 or more 3-pointers in an NCAA Tournament game.

Gohlke finished with a game-high 32 points and Oakland hit 15 shots from deep as a team in the upset . Gohlke went 10 for 20 from 3-point range and did not hit a 2-point shot to help slay the Wildcats, tying for the most points in NCAA Tournament history without making a 2-pointer.

"It's something I've worked so hard for my whole career," Gohlke said on CBS. "Coach just instills confidence in me, gives me the freedom to influence the game in a positive way. It's a dream. This is why players work so hard, to get to this stage."

Kentucky briefly took the lead early in the second half and weathered Gohlke's shot-making storm but still trailed the Golden Grizzlies for the majority of the game. Oakland led 38-35 at the half and slammed the door shut by finishing much like it started -- with shots from deep. DQ Cole drilled a clutch 3-pointer in the final 30 seconds and Trey Townsend sunk two free throws to help ice the game in front of a shocked crowd in Pittsburgh.

With the loss, Kentucky dropped to 1-4 in its last five NCAA Tournament games under coach John Calipari and guaranteed for a third consecutive NCAA Tournament it would not make it to the second weekend of March Madness


Postseason struggles have plagued Kentucky under Calipari the last few years. Since 2021, UK has a 2-6 postseason record with only one NCAA Tournament win and one SEC Tournament win to show for it. 

Oakland won the Horizon League regular-season championship and won three games in three days in the Horizon League Tournament to earn the league's automatic NCAA Tournament berth. It marked the first NCAA Tournament appearance for the Golden Grizzlies since 2011 and fourth in program history at the Division I level.  

Here are three takeaways from the game.

1. Gohlke gets his shine

Who, exactly, is Jack Gohlke? That might have been a question you had as the game started but it was answered emphatically across 40 minutes of hoops. Gohlke became the fifth player to hit 10 3-pointers in an NCAA Tournament game, finishing with a career-high 32 points. He's a 3-point specialist who entered the day No. 2 in the country in 3-point attempts and exited No. 1 after taking 20 3-point shots in the win. He did not finish with a shot from 2-point range and has just eight 2-point attempts on the season.

"Gohlke put us on his back," said Oakland coach Greg Kampe. "And then our defense carried us."

2. UK tourney woes worsen

Under the bright lights in Lexington, Kentucky, anything short of a national championship can be seen as a failure. But even an objective bystander can admit UK's recent struggles aren't great. The loss marked its second to a double-digit seed in the NCAA Tournament in the last three seasons after falling 85-79 in 2022 to No. 15 Saint Peter's. 

3. Calipari takes some, but not all, responsibility

After the loss, Calipari credited Oakland for the way it played and shouldered some -- but certainly not all -- of the responsibility for the outcome. In particular, Calipari mentioned mistakes from freshmen as a big reason for the loss, which many may be quick to point out is his doing.

"We made some critical mistakes at critical times again today," he said. "When you have a really young team and look at where the mistakes come from, they were freshmen.

"I tried to push buttons to get the right combinations out there. But they're freshmen. We don't know how they're going to respond in this stuff."