ATHENS — Georgia basketball has made it a historical start to the season with Wednesday night’s 82-78 win over rival Georgia Tech.
It was the Bulldogs’ fifth-straight win in the series, the first time that has happened in 79 years, and the 10,205 fans at Stegeman Coliseum couldn’t have been more happy.
“This is a huge rivalry,” Georgia coach Tom Crean said. “I said to the team, there are going to be things in life that are so much bigger than you, and a game like this is one of them.
“When those seniors can say they never lost those games, that’s a big deal.”
Junior Rayshaun Hammonds carried the load for the Bulldogs (4-0), matching his season high with 26 points while pulling down 9 rebounds against the Yellow Jackets (2-1).
Projected NBA lottery pick Anthony Edwards had 18 points and 8 rebounds, and senior grad-transfer Donnell Gresham Jr. had 13 points and 6 rebounds.
Edwards, of course, made history by scoring 53 points in his first two games, eclipsing the freshman record previously held by Georgia and NBA Great Dominique Wilkins (1979).
Michael Devoe had 34 points including a last-second, half-court shot to lead Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets opened the season on Nov. 5 with an 82-81 overtime road win over North Carolina State.
Hammonds dominated the first half, scoring 19 of his points through the first 20 minutes. It carried into the second half with Georgia leading by as many as 16 points.
“It’s a big win for us,” Hammonds said. “I haven’t lost to them, I don’t want to lose to them.”
A degree of uncertainty crept into the building with 10:15 remaining, however, when Hammonds picked up his fourth foul while scrambling for a loose ball.
Hammonds took his 26 points and 8 rebounds to the bench, and Crean and the Bulldogs turned to freshman Anthony “Antman” Edwards.
Edwards, 1-of-8 shooting to that point with 5 points, drained a 3-pointer on the next trip down to make it 59-48 at the 9:41 mark. It triggered a 10-2 run that Edwards capped with a drive to the basket that made it 66-50.
“We did a good job on Edwards, he made some big plays late,” Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner said. “He’s a pro, he’s going to be one of the top 3 draft picks, pros do that.”
The Bulldogs had used a 13-2 run to end the first half and take control of what had been a back-and-forth first half, leading 35-27 intermission.
Edwards had just 2 points at the half, and he didn’t score his first field goal until hitting a long jumper that made it 42-31 with 17:50 left.
The Bulldogs fans came to life, and it was another big crowd.
Georgia, in fact, has the second-largest season attendance in school history through four games (35,152), approaching the record set in 1981 when Stegeman Coliseum held 11,200 and drew 38,741 through its first four games.
More history will be made when Georgia returns to action at 2:30 p.m. next Monday in the Maui Invitational against Dayton (TV: ESPN2).
The Bulldogs, making their first-ever appearance in the prestigious will play again on Tuesday (Michigan State or Virginia Tech) and Wednesday (TBD).