The Georgia men’s basketball team downed the Georgia Southern Eagles on Monday night in Stegeman Coliseum, 73-64, on Monday night in a game that featured no less than 12 lead changes.
The Bulldogs’ starting five on the night included Toumani Camara (10), Tyree Crump (4), Anthony Edwards (5), Donnell Gresham Jr. (0), and Rayshaun Hammonds (20). The “Ant-Man” led Georgia with 23-points with 50% from the floor and Camara could not miss, adding 16 points on 8-for-8 shooting. Camara also added 7 rebounds and had 2 steals. Hammonds led the Dawgs on the boards by hauling in 10 rebounds and came within a hair from posting a double-double with 8 points. Sahvir Wheeler came off the bench with 8 points, 7 assists, and 4 rebounds in 32 minutes of play, matching Camara in most minutes on the floor on the night.
Georgia outshot Southern overall from the floor 52.4% to 40.6% but struggled from downtown only hitting on 4-of-22 three-pointers and was inconsistent from the foul line, only sinking two of their seven free throws.
The Hoop Dawgs started out strong, scoring the games first seven points, and were up by eight with the score 10-2 at the 17:05 mark. However, Georgia also went through a scoring drought for over 3 minutes in the first half from 10:41 to 7:11 and the Eagles were able to take the lead away from the Bulldogs, going up by one, 23-22, on an Ike Smith jumper. With 5:38 to go in the half, Georgia would bite back extend their lead by four again, 27-23, off a Christian Brown layup followed by a three-pointer from Edwards after multiple substitutions by both teams.
With 5:07 to go in the first, Camara put the Bulldogs up over Eagles 29-25 with a layup, but those would be the last points for Georgia in the first half as the basket seemed to be closed for business. What seemed to be a promising start on the night ended with UGA heading into the locker room down by three, 32-29.
The second half didn’t start out promising for Georgia either as the Eagles extended their lead to seven, 42-35, in just under 3 minutes of second-half play. The Dawgs would close to within two, 44-42, at the 13:42 mark with a pass from Crump to Edwards, who slammed the ball through the basket with authority. But Georgia Southern would pull away again, extending their lead to seven, 51-44, on an Ike Smith three-pointer with 10:59 to go in the game.
UGA would not give up and fought their way back to a 53-all tie with 9:08 on the clock after Wheeler took the ball to the hoop on a fastbreak score. On Southern’s next position, Gresham, playing the Grinch, stole the ball and Wheeler came through on another fastbreak for the Dawgs with a jumper to give Georgia it’s first lead of the second half, 55-53, with 8:40 to go.
The next three and half minutes found the Bulldogs and Eagles trading blows and the lead, but with 4:44 to go, Georgia went on a 9-0 run for the next 3 minutes or so. Southern would only be able to close the gap to seven, 67-60, with 1:36 to go, and the Bulldogs would cruise on to a 73-64 win.
Click here for the full box score and stats from the Georgia vs. Georgia Southern game.
After the game, head coach Tom Crean commented on the Jekyll and Hyde performance of the Georgia men’s team versus Southern.
“We were not as good in the first half and had some guys on fumes. We have a responsibility right now to compete at a high level for 40 minutes and we want to reward the fans who were unbelievable,” said Crean. “In the second half, we had some guys that got hot with Donnell (Gresham Jr.), Jordan (Harris) Toumani (Camara), Sahvir (Wheeler), and the way Anthony (Edwards) played coming back in.”
The win marked UGA’s eighth of the season and with the victory, the Hoop Dawgs move to 8-3 on the year and a perfect 7-0 at home. Next up for the men’s basketball team is next Monday on December 30th where Georgia hosts Austin Peay for a 7:00 p.m. ET game in Stegeman Coliseum on the SEC Network +. The Bulldogs will then hit the road to start the New Year on January 4th for an away game versus Memphis, which is set to tipoff at 1:00 p.m. ET on CBS Sports.