It’s basketball time in Tennessee.

The men’s basketball team took on the Victory University Eagles Monday, winning the preseason exhibition game 99-57. The Volunteers’ first point of the 2012-2013 season went to sophomore forward Jarnell Stokes. It was a free throw.

The Vols trailed by as many as six points in the first quarter and realized just how necessary preseason play is. Head coach Cuonzo Martin said that while the team turned around in the second half, the first 20 minutes weren’t up to par.

“One thing we talk about all the time is how you play when the lights go on,” Martin said. “I thought our guys were a little slow out of the gates. They weren’t as aggressive and as assertive.”

Martin was on and off the bench, unable to content himself with the team’s first half performance. He said he was more concerned with how the team was playing than that many points were on the board, and he would have liked to see the team do a little more.

“I didn’t think we were playing well in the first half,” Martin said. “We missed three dunks.”

But the game took on a new pace when the Vols returned to the court in the second half. Martin said it was good to see the team getting in a groove as the game played out.  

“I think for a first game, even though it was an exhibition game, we corrected some things as far as turning the ball over,” Martin said.

The Vols won’t face an SEC team until January against Ole Miss, which means they have plenty of time to work out whatever kinks remain. For now, Martin said he’s pleased with the team’s final outcome.

“We got the ‘W’,” Martin said. “It’s good to get a game under your belt, so to speak.”

Victory kept the score within ten points at the half, but wasn’t able to keep up with the Vols’ upbeat pace in the second half. Junior guard Jordan McRae said the team came out of their halftime talk refreshed and ready to show their fans a glimpse of what they are capable of.

“He just was reminding us to not play for ourselves,” McRae said. “(The fans) come to see Tennessee, so keep playing hard.”

The Vols outscored the Eagles 69-37 in the second half with 30 points coming from guards Quinton Chievous and McRae. Chievous score double digits in the second half with six assists. Martin said he thought Chievous played with a lot of energy. 

“(Quinton) is a guy that plays hard and he plays hard all the time,” Martin said. “It’s hard to keep him off that glass.”

McRae said he thought Chievous did a great job.

“He can do so many things playing the floor,” McRae said.

The Vols will face Kennesaw State on Friday at 7 p.m. EST.