No. 23 Tennessee 82, Chattanooga 62
Tobias Harris made fastbreak layups and knocked in jumpers from
the middle of a crowd of defenders. He hit free throws and even
swished a 3-pointer.
Not a bad start to a college career.
”Tobias is special. He’s super-solid,” Tennessee coach Bruce
Pearl said. ”A good coach will get him more shots, and our coaches
will try to get him some more looks.”
Harris scored 18 points in his first collegiate game and the
23rd-ranked Volunteers cruised to an 82-62 season-opening victory
over Chattanooga on Friday night.
The highly touted freshman gave the Mocs more than they could
handle in the paint, outmanning double-team coverage to get tough
shots. He drew enough attention from Chattanooga to open the lane a
bit for his teammates, and the Vols scored 36 points in the
”They were just playing physical and hard, but at the same time
if they want to play physical and hard, I can play physical and
hard and just continue to battle down there,” Harris said.
Harris hit consecutive shots in the paint before drilling a
3-pointer that kicked off an 11-0 run by the Vols. Keegan Bell
fouled Melvin Goins while taking a shot behind the arc, and Goins
hit all three free throws to make it 14-3 with 15:27 in the first
The Vols took turns driving the lane and going to the free throw
line during a 17-0 run later in the half that put them up 40-18
with 2 minutes left. Tennessee shot 45.5 percent from the field in
the first half and held a 45-26 lead at the break with 20 points
coming in the paint.
Tennessee lost 79-64 in an exhibition game to Division II
Indianapolis on Monday night after struggling with composure in
transition and failing to hold on to the ball. This time it was the
Vols who were quick in transition, grabbing 10 steals and scoring
19 points off turnovers and 14 on fast breaks.
The Vols never trailed and led by as many as 31 points before
Pearl went almost exclusively to reserves.
”We didn’t play very well. I mean, we just didn’t play very
well,” Chattanooga coach John Shulman said. ”Bruce said we were
hard to guard, but the ball has to go in the basket.”
Goins scored 13 points for Tennessee – all in the first half –
and got four steals. Scotty Hopson also added 13 points, Cameron
Tatum had 11 and John Fields grabbed 10 rebounds.
Chattanooga returned three starters from last season and boasts
a deep bench, but its biggest question heading into the season was
its frontcourt play. Struggling to get anywhere near the basket,
the Mocs were forced to take most of their shots deep and scored
only eight points in the paint, all but two coming late against
At one point it looked like it might work. Bell hit three
straight 3-pointers to cut Tennessee’s lead to 21-16 with 10:53 in
the first half, but it was as close as Chattanooga would get on
32.7 percent shooting from the field.
”Their length and size was tremendous, and they were phenomenal
on ball screens, and our first options weren’t there,”
Chattanooga’s Ricky Taylor said. ”We had to go to our second
option and rely on our 3-point shot. They didn’t go in.”
Bell led the Mocs with a career-high 20 points and Omar Wattad
Pearl put his players through a 5:30 a.m. film session on
Tuesday and some tough practices during the week in order to put
the exhibition loss behind them. They rewarded him by keeping him
perfect in his six season openers.
”We came off two great days of practice, and I think it all
stemmed from there,” Goins said. ”When we practice well we play