Four players score in double figures against Chattanooga

Tennessee forward Tobias Harris shoots the ball as Chattanooga's guard Keegan Bell, left, and forward Omar Wattad, right, defend during the Vols' season opener at Thompson-Boling Arena Friday, Nov. 12, 2010.

Photo by Adam Brimer

Tennessee forward Tobias Harris shoots the ball as Chattanooga's guard Keegan Bell, left, and forward Omar Wattad, right, defend during the Vols' season opener at Thompson-Boling Arena Friday, Nov. 12, 2010.

Just prior to the season-opening tip Tennessee unveiled a banner commemorating its Elite Eight appearance last year and proceeded to play like a team intent on returning there.

"That (Elite Eight) was last year, but now it's time to start working on getting back to it,'' Vols junior Cameron Tatum said. "That starts with setting the tone right now.''

The 23rd-ranked Vols scored an 82-62 victory over Chattanooga in both teams' season opener Friday night before a crowd of 20,613 at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Tobias Harris led four UT players who scored in double figures with 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting.

"Tobias is special,'' Vols coach Bruce Pearl said. "He's super solid. A good coach would get him more shots, and this coach will find a way to get him more looks.''

Melvin Goins and Scotty Hopson each had 13 points, Cameron Tatum scored 11, and John Fields had 10 rebounds and eight points.

Goins was particularly active on defense, leading the Vols with four steals.

"I feel like our defense starts with my ball pressure,'' Goins said. "I try to get those loose balls and get those steals. I was very focused and dialed in this week because I wanted to get that taste out of our mouths.''

The foul flavor resonating throughout the week was a result of a 79-64 exhibition loss to Division II Indianapolis on Monday that sent shockwaves across the country.

"We realized we had to bounce back from that,'' Tatum said. "This is our floor, and we want to protect it.''

UT (1-0) took a 45-26 lead into the half on the strength of Goins' 13 points and Harris' 12 through the first 20 minutes.

Harris, a true freshman, scored seven consecutive points as the Vols jumped to an early 14-3 lead before going up by as many as 22 in the first half.

"That (seven-point) run was big for me,'' Harris said. "It set the tone for us coming out and handling our business.

"I'm getting more comfortable each time I'm out on the floor.''

The Mocs (0-1) weren't able to cut into the UT lead after the half, falling behind by as many as 31 points with 6:48 remaining when Harris banked in his final bucket of the night.

Guard Keegan Bell led Chattanooga scorers with 20 points, canning six of 10 shots beyond the 3-point arc, and Johnson City's Omar Wattad had 13 points in his first game for the Mocs since transferring back to the Volunteer State from Georgetown.

"Our guys did a pretty good job defensively; they shot 26 percent from three and 33 percent from the field,'' Pearl said. "The fact that we had 35 defensive rebounds to their seven offensive rebounds was significant. We didn't give them many second shots, we were more physical.

"Our fast beak was good, our point guards did extremely well advancing the ball.''

Another positive step was in the turnover department, where the Vols suffered only 11 while forcing the Mocs to turn the ball over 19 times.

Pearl was concerned, however, with UT's lack of offensive production at the post position.

Starter Brian Williams had eight rebounds but failed to score in his 22 minutes, missing all four shots he attempted.

"I need a stronger presence at the five (post),'' Pearl said. "I need a five-man that wants the ball.''

Sophomore post Kenny Hall, who had not worked with the starters this week after re-aggravating a foot injury, played five minutes off the bench and scored four points.

UT returns to action at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday against Belmont in its first game of the Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off.

The Vols will play at 7 p.m. Wednesday, regardless of the outcome of their game on Tuesday. Should UT win, it will play the winner of Tuesday night's 7 p.m. Arkansas State-Missouri State game, which is also at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Tennessee needs to win both of next week's games to advance to play in Madison Square Garden on Nov. 24 and Nov. 26.

Attendance: Friday's attendance (20,613) was bigger than last year's season opener with Austin Peay (17,963) and ranked as the fourth largest for a season opener in the Pearl Era. UT drew 21,864 two years ago, the most recent time it had played Chattanooga.

The school record for a season opener was set in 1987, when UT had 25,272 on hand for the first regular season game in Thompson-Boling Arena, an 82-56 victory over Marquette.

Mike Griffith covers Tennessee men's basketball. He may be reached at 865-755-5599. Follow him at http://twitter.com/mgrif32 and at http://blogs.knoxnews.com/askgriff/

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Comments » 41

eduardo writes:

Harris can flat out play!!

DC_Vol writes:

Go Vols!!! Pearl bring us a Final Four this year. Win the SEC yet again this season. Pearl is the best coach in the SEC period!!!

cwbytruckers writes:

Good job guys. Just take from this game some positives. Then look in the mirror and say to yourself. What can i do to get better. One down. Great team effort.

UTVOLSRROCKN writes:

Way to go VOLS, much better! Harris is something special. That man can ball. Write it down, he's gonna be the greatest player in TN history! Stay healthy young man!

VOLS.......TCB.....KOKO.......GBO!!!!

Down_The_Field writes:

in response to eduardo:

Harris can flat out play!!

what eduardo say times 2.

TheOpinion writes:

Here is what I hate about today's fans. One win and we have people saying that Harris is gonna be the greatest vol ever. What? Really? Based on one game against the Mocs? Wow. But the 1st game we lose everyone will be calling for everyone's head. Tell you what. If Harris plays really well he's probably going pro so he def wont be the greatest Vol statistically in college. Regardless of non-educated fans this is a nice win to start the season. Let's build on this and hope to improve and win some big games. We're a young team so there will be lessons throughout the season.

hillsborovol writes:

Fields is going to be a factor.

UTVOLSRROCKN writes:

in response to TheOpinion:

Here is what I hate about today's fans. One win and we have people saying that Harris is gonna be the greatest vol ever. What? Really? Based on one game against the Mocs? Wow. But the 1st game we lose everyone will be calling for everyone's head. Tell you what. If Harris plays really well he's probably going pro so he def wont be the greatest Vol statistically in college. Regardless of non-educated fans this is a nice win to start the season. Let's build on this and hope to improve and win some big games. We're a young team so there will be lessons throughout the season.

Dear TheOpinion,
This is what I hate about your post. First of all, I have more education than you do. Tell you what. I did not say that he would be the greatest Vol "statistially". He is smooth as silk, smart, and ALL BUSINESS. He WILL be the most famous Vol of all time. You can send me a letter of apology in 15yrs.

Sincerely,
UTVOLSRROCKN

alfrizzle097 writes:

in response to TheOpinion:

Here is what I hate about today's fans. One win and we have people saying that Harris is gonna be the greatest vol ever. What? Really? Based on one game against the Mocs? Wow. But the 1st game we lose everyone will be calling for everyone's head. Tell you what. If Harris plays really well he's probably going pro so he def wont be the greatest Vol statistically in college. Regardless of non-educated fans this is a nice win to start the season. Let's build on this and hope to improve and win some big games. We're a young team so there will be lessons throughout the season.

I believe Harris will have a pretty steep hill to climb against more solid competition than they had tonight; most players do. That being said, Harris shows a great feel for spacing on the court. He has made some good passes in both the half court and the fast break. He also exhibits the ability to hit a short to mid range jumper and does a good job of avoiding contact and avoiding the charge. His game reminds me of a smoother, possibly less athletic (remains to be seen) Tyler Smith. It's fun watching someone know when to arrest his momentum, go up strong, and lay it up soft.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Not a great game for UTC.
1.Poor defense especially in the paint.
2.Horrible shooting except Bell
3.UT was in our/their(confused) passing lanes all night
4.UTC seemed to not know what a passing lane was on offense and especially defense.
5. Except for Bell way too many 3pointers
6.Somebody up in the top seats kept shining a bright light in our/their(coflicted) eyes every time we(UTC) got the ball.
7.UT was just going too fast...is that legal?
8.I'm taking the mocs out of my name!!!!
9.GoGoGoins was allowed to play mad and that's not fair.
10.whothead couldn't hit an open layup much less a 3 point shot(last night anyway)
11.I'm now a complete person and no longer need Chattanooga...Anybody want a BS degree? I have one somewhere...I think...it may be in my garage sale items! (just kidding UTC fans I still love you)(just not as much now)
See you at the NCAAs.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

btw
This game was UTC's Indy. Look out Southern Conference.lol

mocsandvolsfan writes:

I apologize Watted for the name calling...I was a little frustrated with the lack of passing tonight.

nola_vol writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

btw
This game was UTC's Indy. Look out Southern Conference.lol

Season-wise, this should prove to have been a good experience for the Mocs. Two things for sure following this one:

1) Coach Shulman will find his players to be "very coachable" this week, and

2) the Mocs will definitely feel that the game has "slowed down for them" when they face their next opponent!

pauln500#205995 writes:

Tennessee 82, Chattanooga 62 - "BIG ORANGE COUNTRY STRONG"

richvol writes:

Very dissapointed in Brian Willams. After four years one would think that he could hit a layup or be able to hit a shot from four to six feet. He is in better shape but Fields is a MUCH better player and even Kenny Hall looked better,after sitting with injuries,than Brian did.

Hopson was much more aggressive than usual and Goins and Golden looked good. This team has a good chance to be special with Harris,Fields and Golden added.

lomas98 writes:

It is funny to see how the comments do a complete 180 from Tuesday. I have read Harris is going to be the best player in history and this team is going to be special. I think sports is like a service people pay for. If they have a bad experience they will tell 10 people how negative it was and never use it again. If they have a good experience they may only tell 1. That is not too far off since there are only 17 comments after victory and over 150 after exhibition loss.

This team will get better, although here is a news flash for the negative nellies. TN may lose a game in NY in the NIT.

hillsborovol writes:

in response to UTVOLSRROCKN:

Way to go VOLS, much better! Harris is something special. That man can ball. Write it down, he's gonna be the greatest player in TN history! Stay healthy young man!

VOLS.......TCB.....KOKO.......GBO!!!!

I've been watching the Vols play basketball for a long time. Yes, I even remember when Justice played. While I agree that Tobias Harris is definitely going to be a great, great basketball player, I don't agree he will be the greatest. Bernard King will be nearly impossible to pass.

I'm not going to go into all Bernie's accomplishments, but I doubt that Tobias will earn SEC Player of the Year during his Freshman, Soph, and Jr years (Bernie did).

But I do share your excitement for Tobias. He's something special...maybe #2 right behind King.

VOLinNYC writes:

I'm with TheOpinion on this. Why do commenters have to say "best ever" or "worst ever", especially after one game!? Hahaha... You show ignorance and impatience while at the same time lose credibility. If you want to be known as a loudmouth, then that's fine too. Thanks for pointing yourself out so I don't have to read your comments.

Harris looked good for sure and hope he'll continue to improve. He is a freshman after all, and am waiting to see his patience and execution when he struggles (he will), sees better competition (he will) and after grueling schedule playing on the road. Good start for the kid and the team.

Go Vols!

Go4Two writes:

in response to TheOpinion:

Here is what I hate about today's fans. One win and we have people saying that Harris is gonna be the greatest vol ever. What? Really? Based on one game against the Mocs? Wow. But the 1st game we lose everyone will be calling for everyone's head. Tell you what. If Harris plays really well he's probably going pro so he def wont be the greatest Vol statistically in college. Regardless of non-educated fans this is a nice win to start the season. Let's build on this and hope to improve and win some big games. We're a young team so there will be lessons throughout the season.

Good point I call them X Box fans. They never lose on the X box why should Tennessee lose

born2ride writes:

Lets see what Harris can do against Kentucky before we self proclaim him the best UT player ever.

Pullingguard writes:

From all indications this team will be a middle of the road team.. A weakness will be against the team that throws a good ZONE defense, for UT does not have good 3 point shooters.. They will be a good competitive team but not outstanding.

mlynn1 writes:

I'm not going to criticize the fans, fans will be fans no matter what University they pull for. Good starting point Vols. Now get better every game and we will all be happy at the end of the season.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to steviejanowski:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Wow! maybe you're right?! UT has had some outstanding players over the years...There have been few players of his caliber that had a team like he has. He and Goins for sure elevated UT's game.
I felt a little sorry for Williams last night for his scoring but thought he played well otherwise. But Fields looked really good. It was a great team effort...however I'm convinced that Woolridge should never shoot 3s(ha ha).

nwohvolfan writes:

Good win for the vols! As far as Harris is concerned,very talented with a high basketball iq,but the true test will come when league play hits. Especially those weekday road games. It will be very interesting to see how he handles the physicality of the sec. I think we'l all know alot more about this team come mid-january.It'l also be interesting to see who decides to step up in the post and get it done

orangecountyvols writes:

Nice start Vols.

Now, having said that, let's get to the troll........
Catscratchinghimself.

So what troll? Now, you are consumed as most trolls are about anything regarding Tennessee. You are concerned about the Tennessee attendance report. So what if only 5,000 were there and they sold 22,000 tickets. Everyone knows the deal about attendance etc.

Just worry about what's going on in your litter box called Rupp Arena. Get in your troll-mobile and head there to count your seats.

Bubbanuts2010 writes:

in response to CatScratchFever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

CatScratchFever get the F L U C K off the site it's for Big Orange, not loservolle KENTUCKY stay on your on site. Go set with your loser DAADY and watching the sorry azz Kentucky pissy-cats, YOU LOSER " GBO "

HtownVol writes:

I did not get to watch the game so can someone answer a few questions?

Did BW look tired late? I question him being able to play more than 20 minutes, and he is our ONLY true Center.

Does Hopson look as if he will quit saying the same line we keep hearing " I will step up", and just do it?

Does Kenny look stronger? He was way too small last year.

And if Maymon played does he play bigger than his 6'6 frame? We really need big bodies to win in the SEC and vs UCONN, Pitt...

Thanks, lets hope that Hopson will take charge and not be scared to take the shots. If Scotty would quit being his biggest fallback then he can lead this team to great things.

And I really hope BW has been running a few miles every day. He has to play a lot of minutes or else teams with a 6'11 260 lb C will be able to have their way with us.

GO VOLS!

nwohvolfan writes:

in response to CatScratchFever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

.Honestly, everyone knows folks like catscrotch. They have nothing better to do than troll around other folks websites and rile up fans. Most vols fans would do the same if all they had to go home to was the same old trailer park where the same old sister is waitin on them. Relax vol fans we'l be fine! BTW catscrotch,hope you and the used car salesman continue to waste your time recruiting pro ball players from over seas! Hope you and your sister enjoy your weekend!

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

in response to steviejanowski:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

How can you say Hopson looks the same!! Did you see that haircut! (just kidding!) I hope Hopson's haircut is an indication that he is ready for a change. He showed some good moves and maybe he will be more consistent.

Was really impressed with Fields! He is a senior, though, and should be better than Hall at this point. I am really disappointed in Williams, though. I just don't see how a "7 footer" can miss 3-4 foot shots. This looks like an elite 8 team to me. Still not sure I support a 10 man rotation.

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

time to hit the "suggest removal" button on Catscratch. She has become an envious troll that is now looking for ways to antagonize. No longer welcome.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

I'm not sure but I don't think Brian is an inch taller than 5'10". He was a little flat footed last night and seemed intimidated on his shots. UTC has a 7'1 center that isn't very strong. Don't know what his problem was. He has actually shown a better presence in the past. I think he was tired early ant late and just needs to run some more. He hasn't been back long from injury has he? What a month maybe less?

LOWCOUNTRYVOL writes:

Looking forward to seeing Harris become a true leader of this team, at a critical time!!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

I really believe that the interlopers are KNS!!! You guys are my witnesses! If KNS has me kilt then you know why... The secrets' out. Well think about it...Interloper comments make it look like people are reading the article...the interlopers rarely answer our comments but just repeat the same Cramp over and over and over and over...uhh sorry. I don't really think they would do this but who knows? The "Interlopes" aren't making enough sense to take them seriously...but we still keep PUSHING THE REPLY TO BUTTON and making it hard to find people talking about basketball!!?????
Speaking of which (well almost) UT sure looked good at the Neyland today. Catscratch? why would Vandy give Kentucky such a hard time? well at least when I was watching it...don't know who won and don't really care I suppose.

UneducatedRedneck writes:

in response to UTVOLSRROCKN:

Way to go VOLS, much better! Harris is something special. That man can ball. Write it down, he's gonna be the greatest player in TN history! Stay healthy young man!

VOLS.......TCB.....KOKO.......GBO!!!!

Very exuberant prediction, but if Harris can one day be mentioned in the same breath as Bernard King, Ernie Grunfeld, Dale Ellis, Allan Houston, and Chris Lofton, he's gonna make a lot of Vol fans happy.

murrayvol writes:

in response to CatScratchFever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

BTW where's the wake for Enes being held.

murrayvol writes:

in response to nwohvolfan:

.Honestly, everyone knows folks like catscrotch. They have nothing better to do than troll around other folks websites and rile up fans. Most vols fans would do the same if all they had to go home to was the same old trailer park where the same old sister is waitin on them. Relax vol fans we'l be fine! BTW catscrotch,hope you and the used car salesman continue to waste your time recruiting pro ball players from over seas! Hope you and your sister enjoy your weekend!

He's just doin' his job. Don't be too hard on him.

straightshooter writes:

Toby is obviously something extra special. Let's hope he sticks around for 3 years. Great balanced scoring in win and that's what the best teams have. Great to see them get on track after the preseason debacle. Go Vols!

JDL211 writes:

Until U of Indy plays Brescia, which lost by a million to Georgetown, here is something closer at hand to calibrate. Indy lost by 7 to SIU and then beat UT by 15. SIU lost yesterday to Illinois 85-63. Your welcome.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Again!!!!??? When you compare scores like that JADLE2?? It's just a waste of time? If a lower team beatin a #1 team for example?? does that mean UT was the better team than Memphis coupla y....uhhhhwait Ok I see your point...lower ranked teams that BEAT higher ranked teams are mostly better teams. Man that's not good for Memphis! 'Course was that one of those games that got nullified...doesn't matter cause Memphis lost anyway I guess. That was a shame because (seriously) I enjoyed watching them that year(whatever year that was). And if you are a UK fan, who in Pearl's tenure we've beaten as often as lost, then your logic would mean we are as good as UK (if not better).

JDL211 writes:

Nice win for UT. Is Chattanooga the Fighting Choo? Until U Indy plays Brescia, which lost by a million to Georgetown, here is a calibration for UT fans that is closer at hand. Indy lost by 7 to SIU and then beat UT by 15 on the road. SIU lost to Illinois yesterday 85-63. Your welcome.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to JDL211:

Nice win for UT. Is Chattanooga the Fighting Choo? Until U Indy plays Brescia, which lost by a million to Georgetown, here is a calibration for UT fans that is closer at hand. Indy lost by 7 to SIU and then beat UT by 15 on the road. SIU lost to Illinois yesterday 85-63. Your welcome.

Ok! I hit the reply to button...happy now. Read the danm post before yours! Your logic is off. WAYOFF! You may be/are an idiot but I refuse to call you one!!!Oh. They lost by a million??! Wow!? How could that be possible...well I believe you 'cause everything else you said makes sense.lol

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