Georgia Basketball took No. 20 Arizona State to the wire Saturday evening, but fell in the final seconds, 76-74. This loss was the first home loss of the season. Georgia is now 4-1 at home and 5-4 on the season. Despite falling short to the Sun Devils, this team shows a lot of promise.
The Bulldogs top scorers were Rayshaun Hammonds and Tyree Crump scoring 19 points each. Nicholas Claxton led the way on defense and led Georgia in rebounds with 13 and four blocks on the night.
Georgia made sure to let Arizona State know who it was during the first half of the game. The Bulldogs went 20-23, shooting 87 percent from the foul line. Those points were the most scored against Arizona State this season.
The Bulldogs scored the first points due to a pair of free-throws from Teshaun Hightower. Georgia maintained this lead until the final minutes of the game. At the 11:50 mark in the opening half, the two teams knotted at 15. That was the last tie of the game.
Georgia went on two 9-0 runs during the first half. The first started with two free throw shots from Claxton making it 28-26. Hammonds made a spin move in the paint and launched the second run. Crump hit five free throws in the last two minutes gave the Bulldogs the 18 point lead going into halftime.
The Sun Devils opened the second half grabbing five quick points. These quick points cut Georgia’s lead down to nine. It didn’t take Georgia long to get back to a double-digit lead when Hightower hit a three-pointer. Both teams went back and forth until Arizona State cut the lead to three with 8:23 left. With 3:11 left, Arizona State came within one point. The Sun Devils took their first lead with 2:41 seconds left to go leading 71-70. Jordan Harris stole the ball and tossed it to Tye Fagan for a tip in to regain the 74-73 lead with 23 seconds left. However, Georgia didn’t have an answer for the Sun Devils who quickly scored an easy layup, ultimately winning the game. The Bulldogs attempted to score again but fell short.
“Great teams talk on the floor. It takes time to get it, and it’s getting harder and harder in this day in age, but there’s no excuse not to. I tell them, grown man time is in the second half when you’re down there alone. When you don’t have a coaching staff or bench helping you call out the situations. That’s when it has to be grown men. Grown men, five at a time, together, helping each other out, and taking care of it,” Crean states. “Frankly, that’s what wins. It’s a two-half game. A lot of people can guard and be fired up and energetic in front of their own bench. When you have to go down and take care of each other, that’s when you find if you take that step of maturity. For us, whoever is in the game, whether you’re 18, 19, or 20 years of age, it’s got to be grown man time when you’re down there defending, rebounding, and fighting teams, especially as good as Arizona State.”
Georgia returns to Stegeman on Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. to take on the Oakland Golden Grizzlies.