3 things from Georgia basketball’s perplexing 72-69 loss at Missouri

Georgia basketball
Georgia basketball's Anthony Edwards and Jordan Harris look to come up with a loose ball at Missouri on Tuesday night.

It’s hard to imagine the awkward silence on the Georgia basketball plane ride back from Missouri late Tuesday night and into the early morning hours of Wednesday.

The Bulldogs blew a 20-point lead to drop their fourth-straight game in deflating fashion, 72-69.

There are growing pains, and then there’s this, a team that lacks an identity with players who either refuse or appear unable to carry out roles.

Missing point guard Sahvir Wheeler (ankle) was no doubt a factor in the loss.

And, to be fair, there are 10 new players so there is still a lot of newness.

But this was a game Georgia had won, up 59-39 with 13:33 left.

The Tigers (10-10, 2-5 SEC) were just as desperate for the win as the Bulldogs (11-9, 1-6), as they snapped a four-game losing streak with the win.

RELATED: Meltdown in Missouri, how Georgia lost to the Tigers

Crean tried to take the approach on the postgame radio show on the Georgia Bulldogs Sports Network that it was another lesson learned.

“We’ve got to learn that when we play hard and we play together like that, we can do a lot of really good things,” Crean said, focusing on how Georgia played through contact early and controlled the glass in the first half.

“But momentum was up for grabs, and no one ever went and grabbed it back, and that’s the level of toughness that you have to have to be able to make strides and to be able to win on the road.”

The Bulldogs have been outscored in the second half of each of their seven SEC games.

Here are three things from the Bulldogs’ heartbreaking loss at Missouri:

Anthony Edwards’ effort

The freshman played all 40 minutes and left it all out on the court, leading the team with 23 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Edwards’ missed a potential game-tying 3-point shot at the buzzer, and he had his shot blocked at the rim the previous trip down the floor.

But anyone who watched the game could see Edwards’ effort providing the lifeblood for the team on a night point guard Sahvir Wheeler was sidelined by an ankle injury.

Edwards’ downfall was his 3-point shooting. He was just 3 of 12 beyond the arc after a 3-of-10 shooting performance from three in the loss to Ole Miss on Saturday.

Rayshaun Hammonds’ stat line

Hammonds roller-coaster season continued at Missouri. The 6-foot-9, 235-pound junior played 33 minutes but failed to score and had just two rebounds.

“It’s a tough stat line,” Crean said. “We’ll watch the film.”

Hammonds attempted just one shot in the game. Hammonds was coming off a 4-point outing in the loss to Ole Miss, 1-of-8 shooting in that game in 30 minutes.

Georgia seems at its best when Hammonds is asserting himself inside: offensively, defensively and rebounding.

Plus-minus

It’s always interesting to see how the team does with each player on the floor, and the plus-minus statistic can provide a window.

Tye Fagan played only five minutes and made the only shot he took. But the Bulldogs outscored Missouri by 15 when he was in the game.

Conversely, Jordan Harris played 23 minutes and scored 8 points on 1-of-4 shooting, and UGA was outscored by 13 with him in the game.

The most puzzling plus-minus came from Donnell Gresham Jr. He had a minus-12 despite going 2-of-2 shooting from the floor, 5-of-5 from the line while pulling down five rebounds and recording two steals.

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