Nov. 11, 2011
Golden scored a career-high 29 points in the Vols' season opener, shooting 5-of-9 from 3-point range. He had 19 of his 29 points in the first half.
Cuonzo Martin won his first game as head coach of the Vols in his debut
Martin is the eighth-straight Vols head coach to win his first game on the sidelines.
The Vols made 15-of-24 from 3-point range, one shy of the school record.
Trae Golden scored a career-high 29 points in the win.
UT shot 64.6 percent from the floor tonight.
By JOSH PATE UTSports.com
Golden scored a career-high 29 points and dished out nine assists in leading Tennessee to a 92-63 victory over UNC Greensboro in the season opener for both teams and the debut of Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin.
The explosive output by the Vols' sophomore point guard dwarfed his previous career-high of 8 points set last season against Memphis on Jan. 11.
"Guys did great job on both ends of the floor, playing as unit," Martin said. "They showed lot of energy. They approached the game with game-like mind-set and shot the ball well in the first half from the 3-point line. We had some good looks.
"Trae did a good job shooting and finding guys to distribute the ball. Nine assists and 29 points is impressive."
Some of Golden's teammates, however, have seen those outbursts before from Golden in high school and AAU basketball.
"The thing about Trae is that a lot of people are surprised to see what Trae can do," said fellow sophomore Jordan McRae, who grew up competing with and against Golden. "Trae playing like that doesn't surprise me at all. Trae is good. I've been seeing him play like that since he was 12, so I wouldn't expect anything less from Trae."
Golden's biggest contribution was from long range. He was 5-of-9 from 3-point land and 10-of-14 overall. And he converted two three-point plays with aggressive drives that drew fouls.
"I felt like they challenged me to shoot the 3," Golden said. "I only shot about 25 percent last season so I would challenge me, too. I having been working on my shot, and the improvement is really repetition."
The Vols shot 64.6 percent from the floor. They were 15-of-24 from long range, continuing the hot streak shown in the two preseason exhibition contests.
The Spartans (0-1) were led by Korey Van Dussen's 12 points.
The Vols raced out to a 12-2 lead thanks to five quick points from Golden and never looked back with their aggressiveness.
Golden closed the first half scoring nine consecutive points behind three 3-pointers from nearly the same spot on the court to make it 43-28 with 2:36 to play until the break.
Golden had 19 points in first half on 4-of-6 from 3-point range.
"I thought Golden was great early and that really gave them confidence," UNC Greensboro head coach Mike Dement said. "They got going and got a lot of confidence."
The second half was simply a continuation of the Golden show.
He dished an assist to Maymon early, then followed with a steal that resulted in him going to the free throw line to get Tennessee going.
After UNC Greensboro cut the margin to 15 points with 16:55 to play, Golden converted a three-point play to sway the momentum back toward the Vols. Skylar McBee followed with a 3, and Golden added one of his own to make it 66-42 with 15:02 remaining as the Vols cruised to the victory.
"We're just trying to show them that we worked hard in the offseason and we're trying to represent Tennessee in the right way," Golden said. "We've progressed since the preseason. There are not as many jitters and guys are more aggressive, and that's a good thing for us."
Tennessee is back in action Wednesday when it hosts Louisiana-Monroe for a 7 p.m. ET tip-off at Thompson-Boling Area.