ATHENS — Saturday was just more proof that the 2019-20 Georgia basketball team will only go as far as Anthony Edwards can carry them. On Saturday, he was able to do enough to lead the Bulldogs to a much-needed victory to end a four-game losing streak.
Georgia came away with a 63-48 win over Texas A&M. The win moves Georgia to 12-9 on the year and 2-6 in SEC play. Texas A&M drops to 4-4 in conference play and 10-10 on the season.
Edwards led all scorers with a game-high 29 points. He also led the Bulldogs in rebounds(15) and minutes played(39). He also added two steals and was the only Bulldog in double-figures.
But more than that, every time Georgia needed him to make a play, he was able to do so. An Edwards 3-pointer gave the Bulldogs their first lead of the game. Another basket on a drive just before halftime made sure the Bulldogs would have the lead at the break. He then opened the second half with another 3-pointer, one of four on the game.
He scored 10 points in the first five-plus minutes of the second half to give Georgia some breathing room. It was a strong performance for a Georgia team that really needed it after blowing a 20-point lead on the road the last tie they played.
It’s a lot to ask for from one player, much less an 18-year old freshman. But given the state of the Georgia team, which started three freshmen against the visiting Aggies, it’s what’s necessary at the moment.
But there are times when he makes it look like he’s able to do everything on his own. In one sequence in the second half, he deflected a pass, grabbed the loose ball, euro-stepped his away around a defender and finished through contact for an and-1 bucket.
Later on, he corraled another loose ball and finished it off with a windmill dunk. Plays like that are why he’s going to be able to be a top pick in the upcoming NBA draft.
Anthony Edwards W I N D M I L L 🔥 pic.twitter.com/FGkm0DpZbt
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) February 1, 2020
Edwards had his second straight double-double and finished with a career-high in rebounds. For a team that doesn’t have a lot of size, it’s a huge bonus when Edwards is able to chip in like that.
The Bulldogs also got meaningful contributions on the night from Rayshaun Hammonds — eight points and five rebounds — and Sahvir Wheeler. The latter missed the Missouri loss with an upper-body injury but returned to the starting line-up. He finished the game with nine points and a team-high five assists.
Even with Edwards finishing the opening 20 minutes for nine points and eight rebounds, it was still a rough first half for Georgia on offense.
The Bulldogs had almost twice as many turnovers in the first half, 14, as it did made baskets, eight. But thanks to an equally dreadful shooting performance from Texas A&M — the Aggies shot 25 percent from the field — the Bulldogs were able to take a 24-21 lead into the break. The Bulldogs got back-to-back baskets to end what can only be described as a brutal half of basketball.
Georgia cut down on the turnovers in the second half of the game, as it finished with only six over the final 20 minutes. Naturally, this led to the Bulldogs playing a better brand of basketball and allowed them to push out a double-digit lead against Texas A&M. And unlike the Missouri game, Georgia was able to hold onto the lead and earn the win.
It was a strong night on the defensive end for the Bulldogs, as they outrebounded the Aggies 44-34 and held Texas A&M to a 32.2 percent field goal percentage.
The starters for Georgia were Wheeler, Jordan Harris, Hammonds, Edwards and Toumani Camara.
The Bulldogs next take the court on Wednesday night when they visit the Florida Gators. The game is set for a 7 p.m. tipoff on ESPNU.