Junior guard Fred Jenkins scored 21 points and made three key steals as Tennessee rallied for a 54-51 upset of 10th-ranked Illinois (5-2) in a nonconference game last night in Knoxville, Tenn.

Tennessee (3-1) trailed by 10 in the first half and took its first lead since the first basket when 6-foot-5 freshman Elvin Brown hit a jumper with 6:19 left to make it 46-45.

The Illini, who were led by Tony Wysinger's 14 points and Anthony Welch's eight rebounds, failed to score during a 5:21 span late in the game, allowing Tennessee to go from a 45-41 deficit to a 50-45 lead.

Jenkins, 6-4, shot eight of 14, had six rebounds and five assists. Louisville 88, Iona 75

Freshman center Pervis Ellison scored 15 of his 19 points in the second half, leading No. 15 Louisville (4-2) to a nonconference victory in Louisville.

Leading, 32-30, after a sluggish first half, Louisville uncorked its running game. Ellison put in two missed shots and guard Milt Wagner (14 points) scored six points off the break in a run that put the Cardinals up, 49-36, with 14:11 to play.

Ben Coleman had 23 points and Richie Simmonds 22 for Iona (2-4). Ala.-Birmingham 62, Auburn 56

In Birmingham, guard James Ponder's 14 points led the 16th-ranked Blazers past their cross-state rival. Four players were in double figures for Alabama-Birmingham (6-1). Auburn (3-3) was led by Chuck Person with 17 points. Indiana 78, Kansas State 71

In Bloomington, Ind., guard Steve Alford scored 16 of his 22 points in the second half for 18th-ranked Indiana.

Indiana trailed, 46-36, with 17:34 left. But the Hoosiers (3-1) outscored Kansas State, 21-10, in the next 3 1/2 minutes. Alford had eight points in the streak, while Ricky Calloway and Daryl Thomas, who finished with a team-high 24, each had six.

Alford, the team's leading scorer at 28 points a game, was returning from a one-game suspension for allowing his picture to be used in a calendar.

Norris Coleman had 25 points for the Wildcats (4-2). De Paul 70, Western Michigan 59

In Rosemont, Ill., Lemone Lampley scored a career-high 22 points, including seven of De Paul's final 11, and Dallas Comegys had 11 of his 13 points in the second half to salvage an inconsistent effort by the 19th-ranked Blue Demons (4-0).

The Broncos (4-3) were led by Booker James' 14 points. Richmond 69, VMI 61

Forward John Davis scored 15 points and held Virginia Military's Gay Elmore, who had been averaging 23 points, to eight as the Spiders (6-0) won at home. John Newman led them with 18 points and eight rebounds, but it was Davis' defense that held off Elmore and a second-half surge by VMI (4-2).