ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Portland's best start in 14 years now includes a victory over a ranked team.
T.J. Campbell scored a season-high 23 points to lead the Pilots to a 61-56 upset of Minnesota (No. 16 ESPN/USA Today, No. 22 AP) in the 76 Classic on Friday night at the Anaheim Convention Center.Robin Smeulders added 13 points and Nik Raivio grabbed a season-best 11 rebounds for Portland (5-0), which plays No. 8 West Virginia for the tournament championship Sunday night.Portland, which routed perennial power UCLA on Thursday night, has not won its first five games since going 6-0 to start the 1995-96 season."We're on a great journey," Pilots coach Eric Reveno said. "I told [the players] that I thought I wrote a great practice plan. But I can't make up anything to duplicate the experience of the last couple of nights."Minnesota coach Tubby Smith, who guided Kentucky to the 1998 NCAA championship, praised Portland's defense."Portland did a pretty good job of keeping us off balance," he said. "They'd be in a zone at times. They'd be in a man-to-man. They'd trap. They did a good job of making you get to your third or fourth [offensive] option."Al Nolen scored 13 points for the Golden Gophers (3-1), who shot 33.3 percent and made just 13 of 22 free throws. Lawrence Westbrook and Devoe Joseph had 11 points apiece.Smeulders and Jared Stohl each scored six points during a 14-5 surge that put Portland ahead 48-39 with 10:46 to play before the Pilots expanded their lead to 56-45 with 6:33 left.But Minnesota used a 9-0 spurt to close within 56-54 with 3:13 to go. Nolen led the run with four points, two steals and a rebound.Smeulders and Campbell combined to make three free throws to extend Portland's lead to 59-54. But after Nolen converted two free throws with 20.2 seconds remaining, the Golden Gophers had a chance to tie the score.Minnesota forced a turnover on the inbound pass with 15.5 seconds left but Blake Hoffarber missed a 3-point shot with 6 seconds to play. Campbell grabbed the rebound, got fouled and made two free throws to seal it."Campbell really controlled the game," Smith said. "We had our problems trying to contain him."Portland outrebounded Minnesota 42-33 to help offset 19 turnovers.