Scotty Hopson scored 21 points and Tyler Smith added 18 to lead No. 9 Tennessee to an 86-69 win over College of Charleston on Friday night.
Charleston (1-3) stayed close by going 10 for 17 from 3-point range, but Tennessee (5-1) went on a 9-0 run to take a 76-61 lead with just under 6 minutes left.
The Volunteers struggled at the free throw line early in the game, going 6 for 13, but they connected on 13 of their next 16 the rest of the way. They also controlled the glass all night, with a 44-24 rebounding advantage over the Cougars.
Hopson scored 17 points in the first half, going 6 for 9 from the field and hitting all three of his attempts from behind the arc. Smith picked up the slack in the second half with 16 points, hitting all eight of his attempts from the free throw line.
Smith slashed inside for a layup to give Tennessee a 46-33 lead early in the second half, but three quick 3s and a Willis Hall jumper closed the gap to 48-44. Andrew Goudelock's 3 cut the Vols' lead to 61-58 midway through the half, but Smith and Williams connected on consecutive possessions to make it 65-58.
Donavan Monroe led Charleston with 16 points and Jeremy Simmons added 15.
Charleston senior point guard Tony White Jr., a Knoxville native and the son of former Tennessee All-America point guard Tony White, was given a loud ovation during the starting lineup introduction and finished with 12 points. Cougars coach Bobby Cremins called time-out with 0:36 left, allowing White to leave the floor to another round of cheers.
Tennessee hosts East Tennessee state on Wednesday before taking a weeklong break from games to focus on fall semester final exams.