KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Trae Golden had 29 points and nine assists as Tennessee cruised to a 92-63 win over UNC Greensboro on Friday night.
The game was part of an expanded Maui Invitational tournament. The Volunteers travel to Maui to face No. 6 Duke on Nov. 21, while the Spartans face Middle Tennessee at Murfreesboro, Tenn., in the regional field of the tournament.So much about Tennessee (1-0) basketball has changed from a season ago.Gone is Bruce Pearl, the animated coach that led the Vols to their first No. 1 ranking and first trip to the NCAA regional finals in his six seasons. The Vols are no longer concerned with the NCAA investigation of Pearl and his staff that lingered all last season.Forward Tobias Harris and guard Scotty Hopson left early to enter the NBA draft and four other seniors who saw regular playing time have graduated, leaving Cameron Tatum as the lone returning starter.With five new scholarship players and first-year coach Cuonzo Martin, Tennessee is running a fast-paced pressure defense. As long as they put full effort into their defense, the Vols have permission from Martin to shoot at will.Their defensive effort against UNC Greensboro (0-1) may not completely please the coach, but they shot freely anyway.Jeronne Maymon hit a long jumper and Jordan McRae and Golden had back-to-back 3s as Tennessee took an 8-0 lead in the first 1:09 of the game.Golden had the hottest hand of the night. The sophomore had two fastbreak baskets early in the game and scored three treys in a row over a two-minute period that gave the Vols a 40-28 lead with 3:03 before halftime.One of Golden's dishes went to McRae, who nailed another 3-pointer with 6 seconds left before the break to give Tennessee a 49-30 halftime lead, their biggest margin of the first half.Maymon added 15 points for Tennesseee, McRae had 14 and Renaldo Woolridge scored 11 and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds. The Vols shot 64.6 percent and hit 15 of 24 from 3-point rangeKorey Van Dussen led UNC Greensboro with 12 points, and Derrell Armstrong and Trevis Simpson each scored 10 points.The Spartans' shooting warmed up briefly after the break. Van Dussen sank a trey and then stole the ball from Golden, setting up a 3 by Drew Parker that cut Tennessee's margin to 55-40, but UNC Greensboro wouldn't get any closer.Still, the Spartans gave the Vols some trouble inside, scoring 32 points in the paint and outrebounding Tennessee 34-31. They also stole the ball eight times and scored 14 points off turnovers.UNC Greensboro is trying to avoid a similar start to last season, when it opened with a 15-game losing streak. The Spartans, who returned four starters and nine of their top 10 players, went on to win seven of their last 16 games, including an upset of Davidson in the Southern Conference tournament.Martin, who put 14 different players on the floor, is still trying to get a feel for what his players can do. He wants to cut his rotation to eight or nine players after evaluating as many Vols as he can in early-season games.