Saturday afternoon the Georgia men’s basketball team went into the FedEx Forum and pulled off a monumental upset beat the No. 9 Memphis Tigers, 65-62.
For Georgia, it was the program’s first road victory over a top-10 team since 2004 and the first win over a top-ten team – home or away – since 2011.
The Bulldogs improve to 10-3 on the season while the Tigers fall t0 12-2. This is Memphis’ first loss since Nov. 12 when they lost to No. 14 Oregon.
The Bulldogs have won by four points or fewer four times this season. The team had four players in double figures as junior Rayshaun Hammonds led with 15 points. Freshman standout Sahvir Wheeler had another outstanding performance off the bench with 10 points and seven assists. Graduate transfer Donnell Gresham Jr. added another 12 points and grabbed eight boards.
Freshman star Anthony Edwards scored 13 points for the Bulldogs while getting five rebounds and four assists. Hammonds finished the contest with his fourth double-double of the season and sixth of his career, numbering 15 points with 12 rebounds.
“They earned it, and it wasn’t easy,” UGA coach Tom Crean said during his post-game interview on the Bulldogs’ radio network. “It was a huge road victory for us. It wasn’t a pretty game, but we found a way to win it. It’s a maturity process.”
Georgia scored its first four field goals inside the paint, including back-to-back baskets by Hammonds. Those baskets helped the Bulldogs jump out to an early 10-5 lead. Memphis was able to take the lead with just under halfway to go in the first half, but Gresham knocked down consecutive 3-pointers to give Georgia a 15-13 advantage.
It was a back-and-forth battle for the rest of the half. Both teams traded leads 12 times and tied the game on six instances.
Freshman Toumani Camara’s career-best two 3-pointers were big in keeping the Bulldogs in the game, and the game was tied at the half, 37-37.
In the last 20 minutes of the game, the Bulldogs’ defensive performance was what propelled them to victory. The Bulldogs’ defense forced two shot-clock violations by the Tigers, in which the first one led to Georgia coming back down the court and tying the game with another Gresham 3-pointer.
In the end, there were 20 lead changes and 10 ties between the two teams.
Wheeler proved yet again to be a great resource off the bench for the Bulldogs. Georgia was able to get back into the lead on several instances thanks to the young talent, including under two minutes to go when Wheeler drove the lane and pulled up for a jumper that extended the Bulldog lead, 64-61.
Georgia’s defense did not allow Memphis to score a field goal in the last 4:35 of play. Both teams struggled in the final minute hitting free throws, but a made attempt by Gresham secured Georgia’s victory.
“They earned this win,” Crean said. “They really did, because it wasn’t easy. We did not get a lot of trips to the foul line. We were in a situation where we just had to figure out ways to come back and get it done in the game… [Memphis is] a really good team. They are very deserving of their ranking. This is a huge road victory for us, and it was a team effort.”
Georgia returns to action at 9 p.m. on Tuesday at Stegeman Coliseum against No. 17 Kentucky.