Nov. 17, 2009
By Beth Rucker, Associated Press Writer
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Tennessee Volunteers made Bruce Pearl's 100th win as Volunteers coach one for the record books.
The Vols set a school record for points in a game in a 124-49 victory over North Carolina-Asheville on Tuesday night while holding the Bulldogs to only two field goals in the first half.
"I like the chemistry. I like the way they're sharing the ball. I like the fact that they're able to see what they're capable of doing if they apply themselves," Pearl said.
Tennessee's 34 assists also set a school record and its 16 3-pointers tied another. The 124 points broke Tennessee's previous single-game record of 121 points, last achieved by the Vols in the opening round of the 2007 NCAA tournament against Long Beach State.
Pearl is the second-fastest Vols coach to reach the century mark, having coached in 137 games. It took John Mauer 131 games in the late 1930s and early '40s to earn 100 wins.
The Vols (2-0) had their way with a Bulldogs team picked to finish second in the Big South Conference, hitting 64.9 percent of their shots from the field in the first half.
Scotty Hopson outscored UNC-Asheville (0-2) at halftime and was two points shy of tying his previous career high of 21. He broke the mark with a 3-pointer at the 18:18 mark in the second half and finished 6 of 7 from behind the arc.
"I think now guys know when to be in a position to shoot it, and of course I know. Whenever Bobby (Maze), J.P. (Prince), Tyler (Smith) create a drive, draw, dish opportunity, I'm going to be ready to knock it down for them."
UNC-Asheville didn't score a field goal until Terrence Turner hit a layup with 3:10 to go in the first half and only had two in 26 attempts by halftime for a mere 7.7 percent shooting.
J.P. Primm led UNC-Asheville with 13 points.
"At the beginning of the game we did not do a darn thing," Bulldogs coach Eddie Biedenbach said. "I am embarrassed for UNC-Asheville, for Tennessee folks, because we wanted to come in here and make them learn, make them a better basketball team. All we did tonight was give them some exercise."
Tennessee used its full-court pressure defense to force 29 turnovers, scoring 49 points off them.
Tennessee has won all seven games in the series with UNC-Asheville and won the previous six games by an average of 17 points. All games have been played in Knoxville.
In the Vols' 87-69 win over the Bulldogs a season ago, Tyler Smith logged the school's first triple-double in history. That game was also Pearl's 400th career victory.
Tennessee travels to St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, this week for the U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam, where it will open against East Carolina on Friday.
Pearl knows not to expect his Vols to continue holding their opponents to under 35 percent shooting while they're there.
"(It's) unrealistic to think we can continue that. We just want to try to build on it," he said.