Marcus Haislip's performance against Arkansas Wednesday night was almost perfect, as he led the Volunteers with a game-high 20 points, with 13 in the first half of play.
In fact, it was perfect in the first half for the senior forward as he headed into the locker room having shot 3-3 from the field, 1-1 from behind the arc and 6-6 from the free-throw line.
"I was feeling pretty good tonight," Haislip said. "I really just challenged myself to be aggressive on the floor, but I was upset that I got two quick fouls there and had to sit down."
When the 6-foot-10 wasn't on the bench in foul trouble, he was setting the tone on the court.
When the Vols went through a four and a half minute scoring drought, it was Haislip who provided the first point at the foul line.
When the Arkansas zone slowed the pace and quieted the crowd, it was his dunk on a beautiful pass from Vincent Yarbrough that brought the crowd to its feet and the Vol lead to 52-39.
"Marcus did a good job attacking inside tonight," coach Buzz Peterson said. "Our goal was to really get him some touches. I feel like our inside guys are the best in the league, we just need to get them the ball."
When his inside play drew a Razorback double-team it left either Yarbrough or Thaydeus Holden open to take the shot.
In fact, it was Holden who came through in the waning minutes, scoring five of his 13 points in the final two minutes.
"(Holden) played really big tonight," Haislip said. "He played good defense and hit some big shots for us. He came out and played hard and smart. He did what we needed him to do."
When Arkansas went to a zone in the second half to try to counter the Vols solid inside play, Haislip said he wasn't discouraged.
"It takes everything in you, but you just have to keep moving and trying to get open," he said.
On the defensive end of the court, he had two of the team's five blocked shots and four rebounds and added another two on the offensive end, while Yarbrough added eight boards and another blocked shot, as the Vols exploited their height advantage.
"Coach (Peterson) was talking about (the height advantage) at practice, and we made sure that we came out and took advantage of that. We just took it to them."