Monday night the Volunteers hosted their final exhibition game of the season against the Lincolin Memorial Railsplitters.
    
The game marked the second time first-year coach Cuonzo Martin’s squad would take the court, and UT held off Division II’s fifth-ranked team 76-67.
    
The Vols’ roster features only one returning starter in Cameron Tatum. Trae Golden, Jordan McRae, Jeronne Maymon and Kenny Hall rounded out the starting lineup against LMU.
    
Tennessee sprang to a 15-6 lead early. Skylar McBee hit back-to-back 3-pointers to expand the lead to 21-6.
    
“LMU is a good team, a very good team,”McBee said. “They have alot of good players. They’re pretty lengthy. They have a lot of guys who can disrupt you on defense. I think that made us struggle a little bit.”
    
On the night, the Vols went 12-of-31 from beyond the arc. Martin allows players freedom to choose when to take big shots.
   
 “Guys have to play with confidence,” Martin said. “You got guys second guessing, you’re in trouble.”
    
“He just tells us, if we play on defense, offense will come,” Golden said. “Cam can shoot the 3, I can shoot the 3, Jordan can shoot the 3, guys coming off the bench can shoot the 3, so, we’re going to shoot the 3.”  
   
 Tennessee led 44-28 at the half.
    
“We came out of the gate strong and not just on the offensive end, but the defensive end,” Tatum said. “We set the tone early and that is what we had to stick to doing.”
    
The Railsplitters’ only retaliation to the Tennessee onslaught was Jake Troyli, who supplied 16 first-half points and finished with 25.
   
 “That’s a great opponent,” Martin said. “Most teams wouldn’t play an opponent like that.”
    
LMU cut the Vols’ lead to four points after a 26-8 run in the second half.
    
“One of the things as a coach is when you have such a big lead in the first half, you know something is about to happen,”Martin said. “Guys somehow let up. It’s a matter of us getting off to a good start and maintaining. You’re subbing guys in and out trying to get guys minutes but you’re trying to win the game at the same time.”
   
 With six minutes left, Tennessee answered with a 3-pointer from Golden, followed by a dunk from Tatum after an LMU turnover.
   
 “Cam really played well,” Martin said. “His overall game in practice was about defending and playing hard.”
    
Golden deflected a pass, forcing a key turnover on the next possession, and the Vols were able to stifle LMU’s advance.
    
Golden led the Vols in scoring with 22 points, adding four rebounds and eight assists.
    
"If he stays healthy, he will be one of the best guards in the league,” Martin said.
    
“I’m not focused on my play, I’m focused on the team’s play,” Golden said.
   
 The Volunteers open the season Friday at 7 p.m. against UNC-Greensboro in Thompson-Boling arena. Friday’s contest will be the opening game of the Maui Invitational before the Vols head to Maui for the tournament, which features Duke, Kansas, Michigan, Memphis and Georgetown.
    
“Friday can’t come soon enough, so tomorrow we’ll get back to the drawing board getting ready for UNC-Greensboro,” Golden said. “We really need to just make sure that we come ready to play from the tip.”