Nov. 18, 2008
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Tennessee's leading scorer Tuesday night was a reserve forward who was almost an offensive lineman for Ohio State.
"They (Ohio State's football coaches) used to come down to my prep school and take me out of basketball practice and offer me scholarships," Brian Williams said. "I would have been a left tackle."
Good thing for the 14th-ranked Volunteers he was on their side Tuesday night.
Williams scored a career-high 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in a 91-64 victory over Tennessee-Martin.
Williams said coach Bruce Pearl motivated him to have a breakout game.
"Coach has been on me so hard, telling me I play soft and telling me I need to get in there and be a dominant force and I tried to show him that today," Williams said.
It was the Volunteers' 34th consecutive home victory, breaking the school record set from 1966-68.
Wayne Chism had his second double-double in as many games, scoring 11 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
"It's great to have guys that could have average a double-double throughout the season," said Tyler Smith, who scored seven of his 19 points in the first 2 minutes as the Volunteers (2-0) opened the game on a 27-6 run.
Williams was a key part of the big run as went 5-of-6 from the field, including hitting a 3-pointer. Williams finished the half with 13 points as Tennessee took a 57-31 lead.
Tennessee-Martin coach Bret Campbell had high praise for the Volunteers.
"I thought in the first five minutes or so, they set the tone of the game. We lost our poise, I thought. To their credit, they make you play that way we did not respond in the right way," Campbell said.
Tennessee had at least five players score in double figures for the second straight game.
Despite the victory, Pearl was not happy with his team's shooting, especially from behind the arc.
"We were 2-of-17 from the 3-point line. I thought a number of 3-balls were quick, a number were off the line and we could have gotten closer," he said.
Pearl did not think the Vols tried to get better in the second half.
"I thought we played pretty well to start but could not maintain that level of excellence," he said. "I thought our intensity was mixed; we did not value the basketball with too many alley-oops. We took the opportunity last game to get better, but not tonight."
Lester Hudson, the Ohio Valley Conference preseason player of the year, went 1-of-7 from the field in the first half for the Skyhawks (0-2). Tennessee did not do a good job on him in the second half as he shook free and scored 18 of his 20 points.
Campbell does not think the loss will hurt the Skyhawks down the road.
"They were obviously bigger at every position than us but in our league, that is where we compete. I think we will be fine, physically, against the rest of our league," Campbell said.
Pearl is 25-0 in nonconference home games at Tennessee.