Tennessee raced to a 14-4 lead and never looked back en route to an 89-65 drubbing of the Bulldogs, who were coming off an 83-80 double-overtime upset of No. 3 Georgia Tech.
Winning the league opener was a simple matter. All the Vols did was hit 56.9 percent of their shots (including 66.7 percent in the second half) and a sizzling 63.2 percent of their 3-point attempts.
Scooter McFadgon was the hottest of the Vols, nailing 9 of 15 from the floor (6 of 9 from beyond the arc) and 7 of 7 from the line en route to a game-high 31 points in 32 minutes.
''Obviously, Scooter had a big night, shooting the 3 but also getting out on the break,'' Peterson said.
Brandon Crump added 14 points on six of seven shooting. Jemere Hendrix chipped in 12 points. Point guard C.J. Watson nearly fashioned a triple-double -- producing 9 points, 9 assists and a game-high 8 rebounds.
Tennessee, now 9-1 overall and 1-0 in SEC play, also got great play from its bench. John Winchester hit 3 of 4 shots and finished with 8 points, 2 assists and zero turnovers in 20 minutes. Boomer Herndon, the fast-improving 7-foot sophomore, chipped in 4 points, 5 rebounds and 3 blocked shots in 13 minutes.
The Bulldogs whittled a 29-12 deficit to 36-30 but Herndon hit from in front, Stanley Asumnu made a free throw and McFadgon nailed a 3 just before the half as Tennessee went to the locker room leading 42-31.
Back-to-back-to-back 3s by McFadgon, Watson and the 6-foot-10 Crump swelled the lead to 59-35 six minutes into the second half, sealing the deal.
''What really helped us out was the way our guys came out both halves,'' Peterson said. ''They came with the intensity to deliver that first punch. We were very aggressive, and that second half it gave us a big lift.''
Tennessee returns to action Saturday, visiting No. 14 Florida.