Ryan Childress and Tyler Smith provided a dynamic 1-2 punch at power forward as the Tennessee Vols scored a 124-61 knockout over Lincoln Memorial.
An announced crowd of 18,840 turned out at Thompson-Boling Arena on Monday night to watch No. 7-ranked UT finish its exhibition season 2-0 heading into Friday's 7:30 p.m. home opener against Temple.
Childress scored a team-high 19 points and pulled down a team-high eight rebounds while Tyler Smith had 17 points on 8-of-9 shooting.
Childress said he believes he and Tyler Smith could prove to be quite a combination.
"You've got the athletic one (Smith), and the one that wants to elbow somebody,'' Childress said. "Our goal is to stay fresh and (combine) to be the best four man out there.''
UT coach Bruce Pearl was generally pleased with his team's cumulative effort against the Division II Railsplitters, though he had a couple of bones to pick.
"The players continue to be unselfish; we had 31 assists,'' Pearl said. "We shot a great percentage (63.6 percent), although we didn't shoot well from three (29.2 percent).
"Defensively, we continue to play solidly (31 forced turnovers), but unfortunately we took a big step back in the free-throw shooting (19-of-34, 55.9 percent).''
The Vols' press showed its first signs of life this season during a 34-second span in the first half that saw UT go on an 8-0 run.
Freshman Cameron Tatum had two steals off the press and Tyler Smith had another leading to three dunks and a layup that made it 57-23 at the 5:51 mark.
"Cameron is in the rotation,'' Pearl said. "He has a nose for the ball and he can score, and he takes the coaching.
"Coach (Steve) Forbes is always in his ear, and he's like a sponge, hungry for it. That wasn't his M.O., his deal, coming in. It's wonderful to see that from a freshman.''
Tatum scored 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting, had three steals, four assists and one turnover.
Vols' sophomore point guard Ramar Smith was the star in the backcourt, however, with 16 points, eight assists, no turnovers and two steals.
"I thought Ramar played better coming off the bench,'' Pearl said at the press conference, shooting his smile at Ramar Smith, who was standing in the back of the room.
Chris Lofton, who scored 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting, took some ribbing, too, and on the day he was named preseason first-team All-America.
"You don't make every shot you take - everybody misses,'' Lofton said with a laugh after being teased by media about his 1-of-8 shooting beyond the arc through the first two exhibition games.
Lofton's improved defense and ball-handling skills continued to be on display; the reigning SEC player of the year turned down open shots in making three assists and added two steals.
Sophomore Wayne Chism made up ground in the battle for the starting-center position with a 10-point, seven-rebound, three-assist and three-steal performance.
But Pearl wasn't completely pleased with the play of Chism nor fellow center Brian "Big Baby'' Williams.
"I've got such high expectations for Wayne; I'd like to see him compete for more rebounds,'' Pearl said. "Their big player (6-foot-10 Alfred Anderson) got some looks I would have rather not seen him get.''
Williams, a freshman who opened his UT career with an impressive performance in the Vols' 106-46 win Friday night, also struggled with the physical Anderson. Williams had one field goal, five rebounds, three blocked shots and two turnovers before fouling out after playing 11 minutes.
"Brian was off a little bit tonight,'' Pearl said. "He got a few bad matchups. Obviously, didn't play his best game.
"But Brian has a great personality. He said, 'Coach I had as many fouls as minutes played.' He handled it OK.''
Pearl said he ran his players through a hard practice Sunday in an effort to make Monday night's game more challenging.
"We practiced Sunday, full-court, and I don't normally do that the day before the game,'' Pearl said. "It was an attempt to fatigue us a little bit and hope that would affect us little bit.''
It didn't, and Childress and Ramar Smith explained why.
"When you're wearing this jersey, there's only one way to play and that's all-out,'' Childress said. "You can't just flip the switch on and off. You have to be ready all the time.''
Ramar Smith agreed, and said it's not possible to tire out this :Vols squad.
"No, that can't happen, because we're too deep,'' Ramar Smith said. "We've got 12 or 13 players; I don't think we can be worn down.''
Perhaps not, but Pearl will do his best in the upcoming practices.
"We're going to have to step up,'' Pearl said. "We're going to be challenged.''