It wasn't the prettiest win in Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl's 68-game tenure with the Vols, but it was the most lopsided.
No. 7 Tennessee won easily over Division II Arkansas-Monticello 101-44 before a crowd of 17,946 at Thompson-Boling Arena Wednesday night.
UT led 45-25 at halftime, despite being out-rebounded by the scrappy Boll Weevils (0-1) through the first 20 minutes.
A 17-0 run by the Vols (2-0) midway through the second half iced the game and sent some fans headed to the exits early.
Those who left missed a trivial part of history: It was the fourth-largest margin of victory in UT history, and the biggest since 1954 when the Vols defeated David Lipscomb 95-38.
UT also forced 26 turnovers.
"I thought our defense was good pretty much start to finish,'' said Pearl. "I was disappointed we couldn't be more effective in our full-court press. Press is something we'll need against certain opponents.''
Senior JaJuan Smith, one of UT's leaders in steals, said fans need to keep in mind that Pearl's "Controlled Chaos'' defense isn't always pretty.
"Yes, it did look sloppy at times, but nine out of 10 times, that's what we want to do,'' said JaJuan Smith, who had 14 points, four assists and two steals. "We want to make the other teams look sloppy with us and make them play faster than what they're used to.''
Sophomore Tyler Smith had the best looking offensive game for the Vols with a game-high 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting along with three rebounds and three blocked shots.
"Tyler was active and he got himself open,'' Pearl said. "He's getting a better understanding of where his looks are coming from. Part of it is film study, and part of it is doing it. There's a huge learning curve.''
Tyler Smith, who transferred to UT from Iowa, said it's all about familiarity.
"It feels great to get to know the plays,'' Tyler Smith said. "It's just learning the spots I need to be in, finding daylight and making a play.''
Wayne Chism, who had had 13 points and a team-high seven rebounds, said the better Tyler Smith gets, the better off the team will be.
"The way Tyler is penetrating, it's opening up more outside shots,'' Chism said, "and it's helping us inside when he drives because then you get the spoon-feeds from him.''
Ramar Smith scored 12 points and Jordan Howell 10 to go with five assists apiece.
Senior All-American Chris Lofton, meanwhile, scored just five points on 2-of-7 shooting (1-of-5 from 3-point range) and missed his only free-throw attempt.
Sophomore center Duke Crews also scored five points after being inserted into the lineup for the first time this season with nine minutes remaining.
Crews, coming off an ankle injury that forced him to miss 1 1/2 weeks of practice, also had four rebounds and a blocked shot.
The game was the first of four in the StubHub Legends Classic tournament, which includes UT's home game against Prairie View at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The Vols will play host to Middle Tennessee State at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday before concluding the Legends Classic in Newark, N.J., on Nov. 23-24 with games against West Virginia and either Texas or New Mexico State.
"The value (of Wednesday's game) is that it's a long year, and we're going to play a lot of tremendous opponents,'' Pearl said. "We just need to be good enough to beat the teams we play on the nights we play them.''
Arkansas-Monticello coach Mike Newell said the loss was a victory of sorts for his young team.
"Our goal was to try to keep them less than 100 points,'' Newell said. "Tennessee has an excellent team; they are deep, and they are going to be tough to contend with. I do not see them losing at home.''
The Vols' home winning streak stands at 18.