Vols blast Brevard, 91-42

A curious crowd of 17,878 showed up at Thompson-Boling Arena Wednesday night expecting to get a line on Tennessee's 2010-11 Basketball Vols. It didn't happen. Brevard (N.C.) College was too outmanned in the 91-42 blowout to provide any solid conclusions.

There were a few positive signs, however:

- Scotty Hopson is taking seriously his new role as scoring leader/team leader. The junior guard hit 6 of 9 shots (3 of 4 from beyond the arc) en route to a game-high 17 points. He also contributed 3 rebounds, 2 steals and an assist in 21 quality minutes.

- Freshman Tobias Harris is as quietly efficient as advertised. The 6-9 New Yorker hit 6 of 8 shots in a 16-point, 5-rebound, 2-assist performance while playing a team-high 23 minutes.

"Tobias was Tobias," head coach Bruce Pearl said. "He's just solid. He finishes around the basket. He can put the ball on the floor well in transition. He moves well for a big guy.... He's really unique as a freshman. He's such a mature kid. He has a nice presence. He's got high expectations of himself."

- Transfer John Fields' shot-blocking prowess is no myth. He rejected 5 of them Wednesday night, to go along with 6 points and 7 rebounds.

"John Fields is going to get that shot block single-game record, which is only six," Pearl predicted. "He's going to get that. He had some nice moments out there and had a nice presence out there."

- Point guards Melvin Goins (6 points, 3 assists) and Trae Golden (11 points, 4 assists) combined for 17 points, 7 assists and zero turnovers. Goins also registered 3 steals.

"Melvin Goins showed what he can do defensively and really jump-started our defense," Pearl said. "We tried to press and created tempo but not many turnovers. I thought we would press a little more effectively than we did."

Golden's play also earned praise from his coach.

"He's good on the fast break," Pearl said. "He's a good passer. He knocked down the open shot. He's comfortable offensively. Defensively, he's going to have to keep guys in front of him. That's going to be a challenge. But I think Trae can play a little better."

The third member of Tennessee's freshman class, 6-6 wing Jordan McRae, was clearly pressing. He made just 2 of 8 shots and committed 3 turnovers in his 18-minute starting role.

"Jordan has played a lot better (in practice) than he played tonight ... first-game jitters," Pearl said. "He was maybe trying to do a little too much and was getting yelled at by a coach more tonight than he does in practice.... He got a little frustrated out here. He still had seven rebounds, and you could see he's a really good player."

Brian Williams, Tennessee's 6-10, 270-pound senior center, dominated the smaller Tornadoes, producing 11 points and 10 rebounds in 22 reserve minutes.

Tennessee committed turnovers on its first two possessions, then went the rest of the first half without committing another. The Vols got a bit sloppy thereafter, however, committing 10 second-half turnovers.

Tennessee shot 51.5 percent from the floor, 33.3 percent (7 of 21) from 3-point range and 73.7 percent (14 of 19) from the foul line. The Vols forced 21 turnovers while limiting Brevard to 23.5-percent shooting from the field and 15.0 percent (3 of 20) from behind the arc.

All in all, it was about what you'd expect from an exhibition opener - some good things, some bad things and a lot of questions still to be answered.

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