Nov. 18, 2005
Stanley Asumnu had a career-high 18 points, and Dane Bradshaw added career-highs with 13 points and 12 rebounds for Tennessee, which won its seventh straight season opener. Major Wingate had 11 points.
Pearl brought his fast-paced style from Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The Vols were effective in transition but didn't use the press much against the Buccaneers (0-1).
Tennessee went ahead early and was in little danger of losing the lead. ETSU made its last run in the middle of the second half when Tim Smith scored 11 straight unanswered points to cut the lead from 24 to 13.
Lofton ended the run with a 3, and quickly the Vols were back up 88-64 with 6:50 remaining. Lofton shot 6-of-12 from beyond the arc.
Tennessee sold about 20,000 tickets for the game, and although the cavernous Thompson-Boling Arena was not full, the fans were loud and the students made a presence standing behind one basket. They chanted "It's great to be a Tennessee Vol" in the final seconds.
Smith finished with 26 points, and Dillion Sneed added 15 for ETSU, which is playing in the Atlantic Sun Conference for the first year and was picked to finish second. Courtney Pigram and Ben Rhoda each added 11 for the Buccaneers.
The Vols outscored ETSU 18-13 to start the second half and extend their lead to 20.
ETSU trailed by 15 at halftime after turning over the ball 20 times. The Buccaneers finished with 33 turnovers.
Tennessee jumped out to a 15-4 lead in the first four minutes after back-to-back 3-pointers by Watson and Lofton.
The Buccaneers cut the lead to seven, but the Vols responded with a 7-0 run capped by Wingate's slam off Watson's pass that put them up 22-8.
ETSU cut it 32-23 with 5:33 left before halftime after a quick 6-0 run that included five points by Rhoda. But Watson sank three free throws, and Lofton hit another 3.