Smith scores, dishes to key No. 13 Tennessee in opening rout
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Despite opening the season with only one healthy point guard, Tennessee had little trouble with Chattanooga.
The Vols (No. 13 ESPN/USA Today, No. 14 AP) had a school-record 32 assists on their way to a 114-75 rout of the Mocs on Saturday night.
"Our pressure was disruptive, and we obviously shot the ball tremendously well with 32 assists on 43 baskets," coach Bruce Pearl said.
The Vols' assists broke a mark that has stood for nearly 20 years. The old mark was set on Nov. 25, 1988, against Tennessee Tech. They also extended their home winning streak to 33 games, tying a school record set between 1966 and 1968.
Chattanooga's only lead came off two free throws by Khalil Hartwell to put the Mocs up 8-7 with 16:22 left in the first half.
"Chattanooga is going to have a good season," Pearl said. "They did not play well tonight, but they are a lot better than the way they played. We may have had something to do with that."
J.P. Prince, who was questionable for the game because of an injured shoulder, came off the bench to help ignite the Vols with a breakaway layup that gave Tennessee a 9-8 lead.
The Vols went on a 12-0 run, helped by five points from Bobby Maze.
Chattanooga coach John Shulman had high praise for Maze, who had 12 points and 10 assists.
"He did a great job pressuring the ball. I thought he dominated the game," Shulman said.
Tennessee (1-0) entered halftime with a 60-37 lead.
Tyler Smith had 21 points for the Vols. Freshman Scotty Hopson scored 17 points, and Wayne Chism had a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds.
Smith was not surprised to see the younger players do well.
"They play against good competition everyday in practice," Smith said, "They practice against the older guys and the top 10."
Tennessee scored 35 points off 24 turnovers by the Mocs (0-1). The Vols outrebounded the Mocs 42-30 and scored 62 points in the paint.
The new 3-point line did not seem to faze the Vols as they made 11 of 29 attempts.
Stephen McDowell scored 20 points for Chattanooga. Ty Patterson and Nicchaeus Doaks both added 16. Doaks grabbed nine rebounds.
Doaks was disappointed in the way Chattanooga played.
"We just didn't compete," Doaks said. "We thought we were ready, but we just didn't bring it. Our team has a lot of work to do, and it showed tonight. We're not ready yet."
It was the second time in coach Bruce Pearl's tenure that the Vols have scored 100 or more points to open the season. Tennessee scored 106 against East Tennessee in 2005 in Pearl's first season.
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2022-23 Southern Conference Standings
|East Tennessee State||8-10||7||12-20|
2022-23 Southeastern Conference Standings