With a demanding fan base at their backs, the Tennessee basketball team kept the crowd happy from the moment they hit the floor Monday night.
The Vols held Oakland to a 15.6 shooting percentage in the first half (45.8 in the second) and only 50 points, winning the team's second home game of the regular season, 77-50.
Their success was found in a defense that head coach Cuonzo Martin said had one of the better efforts he'd witnessed since his arrival at UT.
"Good win for our guys, to hold a team like that, the way they score the ball, to 50 points," Martin said. "I though our guys did a tremendous job having weaker prep time."
The Volunteers managed to get an early lead over the Oakland Grizzlies (2-5) thanks to the team's upbeat style of defense that wasn't letting anything past them leading. The win gave the team a 4-1 record to start the 2012-2013 season.
With 42 team rebounds, led by senior forward Kenny Hall, the Vols trumped Oakland's rebound total by a total of 13. Oakland head coach Greg Kampe said he wasn't going to make excuses for his players. He thought the Vols just outplayed them.
"They played their tails off. They played with great aggression, they defended the living crap out of us," Kampe said. "They defended us. They wouldn't let (Travis) Bader get a sniff."
Senior guard Skylar McBee, along with Josh Richardson and Jordan McRae, had to stay in front of Oakland's stop scorer Travis Bader. The junior guard averages 17.2 points per game and scored 18 of the team's 50 total points on Monday night.
Martin said he thought the team did their job of staying on top of him.
"He's one of the best shooters in the country. You can't lead that guy because he makes shots and he makes them deep and he's constantly moving," Martin said. "He's on the floor all the time and it's just tough ...We did our job and he had to make shots.
On the offensive side, sophomore forward Jarnell Stokes charged around Thompson-Boling Arena like he owned the place.
In his defense, no one seemed to mind.
Ending the game with 19 total points, shooting 7 of 8 from the field, Stokes scored the team's first two points, leading the team to their 54.2 shooting percentage for the night.
But beating Stokes from the floor with 14 points in the first half and 31 minutes of playing time was Trae Golden. The junior guard went 9-13, scoring 18 total points.
Head coach Cuonzo Martin said the duo's performance was what he had been looking for offensively since the beginning of the season.
"I thought Trae Golden did a good job accepting the challenge," Martin said. "Great performance by Trae, I thought, from start to finish. He was ready to go and he really helped us out. I though Jarnell did a really good job of scoring the ball."
Returning from a weeklong trip at the "Puerto Rico Tipoff," the team didn't have much time to recover between games and travels. Martin said he didn't think the team played well in Puerto Rico, but he was glad to see the team recover from the loss of starting forward Jeronne Maymon.
"Our guys are five games into it and you take one game at a time and continue to get better," Martin said.
The Vols don't get much downtime. The team has a 6:30 p.m. EST tipoff at Georgetown on Friday.
"We're ready to play anybody," Martin said. "It doesn't matter where we're playing or who we're playing, we're a talented team."