Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo knew what to expect from Georgia freshman Anthony “Antman” Edwards, and his No. 3-ranked Spartans still couldn’t stop it.
Michigan State (4-2) beat the Bulldogs (4-2) 93-85, but not before Coach Tom Crean’s team, led by Edwards, mounted a furious comeback on Tuesday in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational.
The Spartans led by as many as 28 points before Edwards exploded for 33 points in the final 16 minutes.
“Boy, you got to give Antman credit, I mean, he made some shots that I wouldn’t even allow a church league team I used to play on take,” Michigan State Hall of Fame coach Tom Izzo said, per the postgame press conference transcript.
“And he made them, and he made them well.”
Georgia pulled within 2 points of Michigan State with just under 5 minutes to go before All-American Cassius Winston steadied the Spartans down the stretch, scoring 8 of his 28 points to hold off the Bulldogs.
“I thought that was an unbelievable comeback by a good (friend), one of my best friends in the profession, (Tom Crean),” said Izzo, who made Crean his first hire when he became head coach at Michigan State in 1995.
“And Antman, I recruited Antman. He’s every bit as good as Steve Smith told me.”
Smith, a former Michigan State great, played six years for the Atlanta Hawks and is still based in Atlanta, working as an analyst for Turner Sports.
“Give Georgia a lot of credit, give Tom a lot of credit, he did a better job than I did keeping his team in the game,” Izzo said. “That’s the true colors of a team to be down almost 30 points and find a way to come back and almost tie it up.”
Winston, a senior point guard who has faced the best in college basketball, was quick to recognize Edwards’ performance.
In addition to scoring 37 points, Edwards led the team with 6 rebounds, 3 blocked shots and 4 steals.
“It’s the reason why he got all the hype, it’s the reason why he got a name like that,” said Winston, himself a projected Top 10 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.
“You let a player like that get going it’s very difficult to slow him down, and that just feeds into everybody on the team.”