PITTSBURGH — 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 nonconference 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 nonconference loss in Pittsburgh in nearly six years, winning 83-76 Saturday.
Melvin Goins added 19 points and Cameron Tatum hit a succession of big shots while scoring 14 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.
Brad Wanamaker scored 21, but Pitt — which missed 17 free throws — lost a nonconference game in the city for the first time in 58 games, since Jan. 2, 2005, to Bucknell.
"They surprised us early on, and until the end of the game they kept bringing it at us nonstop," Wanamaker said.
Tennessee and Pitt are similar in size, makeup and the ability to play physically at both ends of the court but with one difference. Tennessee plays more ranked nonconference teams, 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."
In the past two seasons, Tennessee has beaten four teams in the Top 5 at the time: No. 1 Kansas, No. 2 Kentucky, No. 3 Pitt and No. 5 Ohio State. Pearl is 7-7 against Top 5 teams, the only Tennessee coach to be .500 or better in such games.
Last month, Tennessee beat then-No. 7 Villanova, also of the Big East, in New York.
"It's better to win on the road, especially in hostile environments against a Top 10 team," Tatum said. "You shut the crowd up."
NO. 1 DUKE 84, SAINT LOUIS 47: Nolan Smith had 15 of his 22 points in the first half for the host Blue Devils (10-0), who won their 20th straight and gave coach Mike Krzyzewski his 878th win, one shy of Dean Smith for second all time.
NO. 4 KANSAS 76, COLORADO ST. 55: Markieff Morris had 12 points and 11 rebounds and Elijah Johnson scored six in a 12-0 second-half run for the host Jayhawks (9-0).
NO. 5 KANSAS ST. 68, LOYOLA OF CHICAGO 60: Jacob Pullen had 19 points in a triumphant homecoming for the visiting Wildcats (9-1), who won their fifth straight despite nearly blowing a 14-point second-half lead.
NO. 7 MICH. ST. 77, OAKLAND, MICH. 76: Kalin Lucas had 25 points and made a key 3-pointer and a jumper late in the game for the visiting Spartans (7-3).
NO. 8 SYRACUSE 100, COLGATE 43: Rick Jackson had 18 points and 10 rebounds, and the host Orange (10-0) won for the 45th straight time in the schools' 163rd meeting.
NO. 15 MISSOURI 70, PRESBYTERIAN 55: Justin Safford had 14 points and six rebounds for the host Tigers (8-1), who used a 21-4 run over nine minutes of the first half to pull away.
NO. 17 KENTUCKY 81, INDIANA 62: DeAndre Liggins had a career-high 19 points, Brandon Knight added 18 and six rebounds and the host Wildcats (7-2) shut down the Hoosiers in the second half to win for the 14th time in the past 17 meetings. Indiana managed one field goal in the final 10 minutes as Kentucky closed with a 25-5 burst.
NO. 18 BYU 87, ARIZONA 65: Jimmer Fredette had 33 points and nine rebounds for the host Cougars (10-0), who had first-half runs of 12-4 and 14-0.
NO. 19 PURDUE 77, N. FLA. 57: JaJuan Johnson had 25 points and E'Twaun Moore added 21 as the host Boilermakers (9-1) won their fourth straight.
TEXAS A&M 63, NO. 21 WASH. 62: David Loubeau blocked a desperation shot by Isaiah Thomas as time expired, and the host Aggies held off the Huskies (6-3).
NO. 22 MINN. 71, Eastern Ky. 58: Ralph Sampson III had 19 points, eight rebounds and four assists for the host Gophers (9-1), who overcame a slow start and 12-of-22 free-throw shooting.
NO. 23 NOTRE DAME 83, GONZAGA 79: Carleton Scott had a career-high 23 points and Ben Hansbrough hit four free throws in final 12 seconds for the host Irish (9-1).
NO. 24 L'VILLE 77, NO. 20 UNLV 69: Preston Knowles scored all 20 of his points in the second half, and the host Cardinals (8-0) rallied past the Rebels (9-1) in the Billy Minardi Classic.
NO. 25 TEXAS 101, TEXAS ST. 65: Freshman guard Cory Joseph had a career-high 19 points, and the Longhorns (7-2) won their 24th straight nonconference home game.
CAL: The school self-imposed sanctions on the program for violating rules about phone calls to recruits.
UCF 76, B-CU 59: Tom Herzog tied a school record with eight blocks and Keith Clanton had 16 points for the host Knights (8-0), who are off to their best start since going 15-0 in 1979-80. Bethune-Cookman fell to 4-5.
ECKERD 88, LYNN 68: John Harper had a season-high 23 points to lead the visiting Tritons (8-1) in their Sunshine State Conference opener.