I won't try to sell you that Tennessee's 77-58 win over Wyoming on Tuesday night was a beauty to behold.
The Vols continued their pattern of spending too many minutes playing to the level of the competition rather than to the level of a top-10 team.
A Thompson-Boling Arena crowd grew restless, impatient for the home team to drub somebody by 30, 40 or 75 points like the Vols did before Thanksgiving.
But here's the moment I would pick to tell the story of this particular evening.
It happened midway through the second half.
Djibril Thiam, one of Wyoming's athletic forwards, looked to the basket, gave a pump-fake that got defender Scotty Hopson off his feet.
Thiam headed hard to the rim. So far so good, he must have thought.
Only he didn't get more than a step until another white uniform materialized.
Thiam plowed into Wayne Chism. End of the line.
Charge. Turnover. Tennessee's ball.
And so it went for the Cowboys, over and over in the second half.
"Our second-half defense was impressive to me,'' said coach Bruce Pearl. "That's how you win games.''
Wyoming shot 46.2 percent the first half. It shot 26.3 percent the second.
Wyoming scored 41 points in the first half, 17 in the second.
Wyoming made five 3-pointers the first half, zero the second.
The Cowboys won the boards 23-16 the first half, the Vols by a 15-13 margin the second.
That's how you win games. But it wasn't that apparent early in the second half.
Wyoming, which had led by 10 points in the first half, was hanging tough at 52-49 after Afam Muojeke's basket with 15:30 to play.
Hmmm. Remember what happened last time Wyoming brought a team to Knoxville?
Could lightning strike twice, on either side of the G-10 garage?
The Cowboys would manage only two more field goals. The last of them came at the 9:02 mark.
And so a one-point game at halftime became a 19-point game at the end.
"There really wasn't nothing said by the coaches (at halftime),'' UT Tyler Smith reported, "it was on the players.
"We wanted to protect our home court by showing we can guard.''
The Vols can guard this year.
What we know about Bruce Pearl teams after four seasons is that they're going to be at or near the top of the offensive stat rankings.
Scoring, shooting, 3-balls, that's old hat.
But check the SEC defensive stats this year.
Tennessee is second in scoring defense (60.5 points), second in field-goal defense (37.8 percent), second in 3-point defense (28.8 percent).
A year ago, most of UT's newcomers were a defensive liability. That's no longer the case.
"We always had it last year,'' said Smith, "where three guys were on and two were off or four were on. Everybody's clicking now.
"It showed in the second half when we only let 'em score 17 points.''
Pearl knew that a year of seasoning would give those former new guys a better understanding of how to play team defense.
But he had to see if the effort would materialize to deliver the goods.
"They had some good teachers in Tyler, Wayne and J.P. (Prince),'' Pearl said.
"It's Bobby (Maze) getting better, Cam (Tatum) getting better, Scotty getting better, Brian (Williams) getting better and Melvin (Goins) coming in as a good defensive player.
"Tyler and Wayne appreciate that. They're not out there as the only high-IQ defensive players.''
It's true. They do appreciate it.
"You can see,'' said Chism, "a lot of things have changed on this team that we didn't have last year.''
That's how you win more games.
Mike Strange may be reached at email@example.com or 865-342-6276.