The Tennessee men’s basketball team began the regular season in the win column.

The Vols (1-0) defeated Chattanooga 82-62 Friday in front of a Thompson-Boling Arena crowd of 20,613.

The season opener came on the heels of a 79-64 exhibition loss to Division-II Indianapolis last Monday.

“We made progress, but we’ve got a long way to go,” UT coach Bruce Pearl said.

Freshman Tobias Harris led the way for the Vols with 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting.

“Tobias is special,” Pearl said. “He’s super solid … He’s just a very efficient player.”

Harris scored seven straight points early in the game to give the Vols a 10-3 lead.

“I thought that was big for me and for a team standpoint,” Harris said. “It kind of set the tone of us just coming out here and really handling business and, you know, guys on the team got hype, real hype, so that also got me hype.”

Harris played the most minutes of any Vol on the night, with 26 minutes, and impressed coaches enough in his first career start to become more involved offensively.

“I don’t want him to be more assertive, because I don’t want him to force things,” Pearl said. “I thought he made some really good decisions. We probably need to put it in his hands a little more so we can spread it around.”

UT went on a 17-0 run midway through the first half to extend its lead to 40-18. The Vols led 45-26 at the half.

Tennessee outscored UTC 36-8 in the paint, but Pearl said he is expecting to get better production offensively from his big men down low.

“We need to do a good job of scoring at the five position,” Pearl said. “Between Kenny (Hall), John (Fields) and Brian (Williams), we need to find someone to throw the ball to inside and get a basket in a situation that’s not an offensive rebound or a real easy (basket). So I’m going to challenge those guys to do that.”

Hall was still recovering from a knee injury and scored four points in five minutes late in the game. Williams was scoreless but did grab eight rebounds.

Fields came close to notching a double-double with eight points and 10 rebounds.

“I thought John Fields was really effective,” Pearl said. “His energy was terrific. He made some good plays.”

Another Vol who was effective on the night was senior point guard Melvin Goins. Goins had 13 points, five rebounds and three assists.

“I thought Melvin Goins had a terrific game defensively,” Pearl said. “He was a real factor out there. He really picked us up. He shot it well and played extremely well.”

Preseason All-SEC First Team selection Scotty Hopson added 13 points but was just 5-of-14 shooting from the field, including 1-of-6 from behind the arc.

“Teams are going to go at him,” Pearl said of the junior. “Scotty is a difference maker. He can do things out there on the floor that nobody else can do. Without Scotty, it’s going to be very difficult to beat the best teams on our schedule.”

Junior guard Cameron Tatum said the team came out with much more enthusiasm against the Mocs than it did just four days earlier against Indianapolis.

“Focus and energy,” Tatum said when asked what changed leading up to the game. “Everybody came out with the mindset of a business-like mentality, and we just executed on both ends of the floor in both halves.”

The Vols will return to the court next week as hosts of the first two rounds of the Dick’s Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-off.