Georgia basketball freshman Anthony “Antman” Edwards scored 33 of his career-high 37 points in the second half of a 93-85 loss to Michigan State.
NBA Hall of Famer and ESPN commentator Bill Walton equated the performance during the telecast to an ant being capable of carrying 50 times its body weight.
Walton also said at one point he needed sunglasses to protect his eyes from Edwards’ scintillating performance in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational game.
The No. 3-ranked Spartans (4-2) held a 52-31 halftime lead and were up by as many as 28 points in the second half before Edwards went to work, carrying the Bulldogs back to within 2 points in the final minutes.
Michigan State senior point guard Cassius Winston led the Spartans with 28 points and 8 assists, coming up big down the stretch as MSU held on.
Edwards scored his 37 points on 11-of-26 shooting that included 7-of-16 marksmanship from beyond the 3-point arc and a perfect 8-of-8 shooting performance from the free-throw line.
Edwards also had a team-high six rebounds, four steals and three blocked shots against the Big Ten powerhouse in his 37 minutes on the floor for UGA (4-2).
All this, after scoring just 4 points on 1-of-8 shooting in the first half.
“Momentum was up for grabs, and what we learned is how good Anthony can be,” Georgia coach Tom Crean said on his post-game radio interview.
“Not only with the scoring, but with the attitude and the ability to push the ball up the floor with that level of edge and attitude that he played with. With that level of motor he played with. It just inspires everybody else.”
Edwards, a projected NBA lottery pick, drove for a layup at the 16:01 mark that appeared harmless enough at the time. The Bulldogs were still down 61-36 at that point.
But moments later, it was Edwards with a 3-point shot that ignited a 20-3 run to pull Georgia back within single digits at 65-56 with 11:27 left.
Michigan State countered with a 5-0 burst, but Edwards and the Bulldogs weren’t done.
Edwards hit a contested turnaround jumper, and then he pulled up to hit a 3-point shot on a fast break. It was the start of a 12-2 run which he capped by hitting another 3-pointer to make it 72-68 with 6:25 remaining.
Michigan State’s Marcus Bingham hit a 3-pointer, but then Rayshaun Hammonds hit a 3-pointer and followed with a layup in transition.
Edwards skipped the long bounce through traffic to Hammonds (13 points) that set up the layup and cut the lead to 75-73 with 4:57 left.
Hall of Fame coach Tom Izzo turned to his senior All-American, Winston, to close out the game.
Winston scored 8 points in the final 4 1/2 minutes – 6 from the free-throw line — to hold off Edwards and the Bulldogs.
Georgia closes the tournament at 9 p.m. on Wednesday on ESPNU against the loser of Tuesday night’s matchup between Division ll host Chaminade and UCLA.
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