Jarnell Stokes scored 19 points and went 7-of-8 from the floor Monday as Tennessee relied on suffocating defense to roll to a 77-50 victory over cold-shooting Oakland.
The victory helped Tennessee (4-1) gain a measure of revenge against Oakland, a Summit League program that had defeated Tennessee each of the last two seasons. Oakland, which has averaged 23.5 wins over the last four years, won 89-82 at Knoxville in December 2010 and beat the Vols 89-81 at home last season.
But the Golden Grizzlies never had a chance Monday.
Oakland (2-5) shot just 28.6 percent (16-of-56) overall and went 2-of-16 from 3-point range. The Golden Grizzlies (2-5) were coming off a 70-52 loss at Michigan State on Friday in which they shot 27.6 percent (16-of-58), their worst field-goal percentage since joining the Division I ranks in 1999.
Tennessee played at Oakland last year just four days after returning from the Maui Classic and looked like a tired team that entire game. The Volunteers avoided a similar issue this year by getting plenty of rest after returning from the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. Monday marked the Vols' first game since their 83-69 victory over Massachusetts on Nov. 18 in Puerto Rico.
The difference in the Vols' energy level was apparent from the opening minutes.
Tennessee grabbed a 38-15 halftime lead by staging a defensive clinic, as Oakland shot 5-of-32 overall and 1-of-11 from 3-point range. After scoring a total of four fast-break points in three Puerto Rico Tip-Off games, the Vols had nine fast-break points in the first half alone against Oakland.
Tennessee guard Trae Golden nearly outscored the Grizzlies by himself in the first half, as he scored 14 points and dished out three assists before the intermission. Golden finished the night with 18 points, seven assists and only one turnover while shooting 7-of-9.
Golden made his first five shots of the night before missing a hurried 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer. Tennessee shot 52.8 percent (28-of-53) overall and 71 percent (22-of-31) from inside the 3-point arc.
While Golden seemingly couldn't miss, the Grizzlies couldn't score as their recent shooting slump continued.
Oakland took Pittsburgh to overtime earlier this season, but the Grizzlies have now lost five of their last six games. After struggling so badly against Michigan State, the Grizzlies were even colder for much of Monday's game. Tennessee took an early 15-2 lead and never looked back.
Although Oakland shot a little bit better after halftime while Tennessee wasn't quite as sharp, the Vols' second-half lead still never dipped below 19 points.
Travis Bader scored 18 points and Corey Petros added 10 points for Oakland. Tennessee's Kenny Hall compiled nine points and 11 rebounds.