The Georgia Bulldogs’ 28-point comeback attempt against No. 3 Michigan State fell short in a 93-85 loss in the first consolation game of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational Tuesday afternoon at the Lahaina Civic Center.
Bulldog freshman sensation Anthony Edwards came alive in the second half against the Spartans to rack up his most impressive stat line of the season. Edwards shined across the board, leading Georgia in points and rebounds with 37 and six, respectively. He also tacked on four steals, three blocks and two assists. Edwards scored 33 points in the second half alone after scoring only 10 through the first three halves of play at the Maui Jim Maui Invitational.
Edwards’ 37 points rank 11th in school history. It is also the most by a Georgia freshman since Jacky Dorsey scored 41 against LSU on Jan. 20, 1975. Edwards’ impressive performance is the highest scoring by a Georgia Bulldog since J.J. Frazier also tallied 37 against Mississippi State on Jan. 24, 2015.
Two other Bulldogs finished in double-digit points, including junior Rayshaun Hammonds (13) and freshman Sahvir Wheeler (10).
“We got better, that is the thing,” Georgia Head Coach Tom Crean said. “I have coached long enough to know it is hard to justify a moral victory. We learned a lot about ourselves today. We learned how good Anthony can be, not only with the scoring but with the attitude and ability to push the ball up the floor… We did a better job on the glass and there were things we did a good job of doing, but we have to discover how to do them earlier.”
Through the first five minutes of play, the teams traded back-and-forth leads. A 10-0 Michigan State run gave the Spartans a 15-9 lead that they would hold onto for the remainder of the period.
The Bulldogs kept pace with the Spartans through the first 10 minutes. Three-straight shots by Michigan State from behind the arc extended their advantage to double digits (28-15) with 8:34 to play.
While senior Tyree Crump’s first-points of the tournament— two three-pointers in the last five minutes— got Georgia within 18, the Bulldogs headed into the locker room trailing 52-31.
Out of the half, Michigan State continued to extend its advantage, approaching a 30-point lead within the first five minutes of play. Three-straight baskets from Edwards, including his first three-pointer of the tournament, slowed the Spartans’ momentum.
The Bulldogs were able to break the 20-plus Spartan lead, getting within 15 points with 13 minutes remaining. Edwards continued to heat up, sinking two-straight three’s to cut the Bulldogs’ disadvantage to 12, trailing 65-52, with 12 minutes remaining.
A 3-point shot from Wheeler got Georgia within 10 for the first time since 10 minutes remaining in the opening period. Edwards continued his dominance on both sides of the ball, grabbing a defensive rebound and tallying five more points to narrow the deficit to single digits (70-61) with 9:57 to play.
Edwards recorded two blocks on two-straight possessions, drew a foul and drained a three to continue to chip away at the disadvantage. Georgia trailed by four with 6:50 to play.
Thanks to a layup from Hammonds assisted by Edwards, the Bulldogs faced their smallest deficit since the opening minutes. Georgia cut it to two points with Michigan State leading, 75-73. The Bulldogs also forced nine turnovers in their comeback attempt.
Despite a dominant second-half performance from Edwards and an impressive comeback effort, the Bulldogs fell short with the Spartans taking the 93-85 victory.