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Late Second-Half Surge Powers Georgia Past Georgia Southern, 73-64

(WCTV)
Published: Dec. 23, 2019 at 9:50 PM EST
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ATHENS, Ga. - The Georgia Bulldogs defeated its in-state rival, the Georgia Southern Eagles, 73-64, on Monday night in Stegeman Coliseum to remain a perfect 7-0 at home this season.

Exploding in the final minutes of the game, freshman Anthony Edwards paced Georgia in scoring yet again with 23 points. This was the sixth time Edwards led the Bulldogs and also the sixth game of 20-plus points. Freshman Toumani Camara also ended the night in double-figures, notching a career-high 16 points on a perfect 8-for-8 shooting performance from the field. The Last Georgia player to finish a perfect 8-for-8 was Jonas Hayes against Florida A&M on Dec. 5, 2003.

Fourteen of Camara’s 16 points came in the second-half alone. Combined, Edwards and Camara totaled 27 points in the second-half to propel the Bulldogs past the Eagles.

Behind a team-high 10 boards from junior Rayshaun Hammonds, Georgia garnered a slight rebounding advantage over Georgia Southern, 38-36. Hammonds was also two points shy of the sixth double-double of his career.

“I thought we had a really good couple days of preparation and practice, an excellent walkthrough, and then at the end of the day we just got going,” Georgia Head Coach Tom Crean said. “We were not as good in the first half and had some guys on fumes. We have a responsibility right now to compete at a high level for 40 minutes and we want to reward the fans who were unbelievable. In the second half, we had some guys that got hot with Donnell [Gresham Jr.], Jordan [Harris], Toumani [Camara], Sahvir [Wheeler], and the way Anthony [Edwards] played coming back in. We won this game because we had 27 deflections and out-rebounded Georgia Southern by four in the second half. Those are the things that made the difference.”

In under three minutes, Edwards scored seven of Georgia’s first 10 points before picking up his second foul. Defensively, the Bulldogs held the Eagles scoreless for nearly three minutes of play to open the game.

With eight minutes remaining in the first half, Georgia Southern was able to get within three of Georgia thanks to a shot from behind the arc. The Eagles gained their first advantage of the contest the following possession, 23-22.

A three-point shot from Edwards propelled him to double digits with 5:38 remaining in the opening half and extended the Bulldog lead back to four. Georgia Southern gained the one-point edge once again on an and-one with 3:22 left to play. Neither team led by more than four, which the Bulldogs did twice, for the final 10 minutes of the first frame.

The combination of a 7-0 run by the Eagles and a 5:07 scoring drought for the Bulldogs sent Georgia into the locker room trailing by three, 32-29.

The Bulldogs quickly regained a one-point lead within a minute out of the locker room thanks to baskets from Hammonds and Camara. After Georgia Southern went three-for-three in under a minute, it was able to grab its largest lead of the matchup, seven, with 17:11 to play.

Camara sparked a 6-0 Georgia run, recording back-to-back dunks to cut the Bulldogs deficit to two on two different occasions. Shortly following, freshman Sahvir Wheeler came in clutch yet again, draining back-to-back baskets to tie the game and then regain the two-point Georgia lead, 55-53, with 8:36 remaining. This was the first advantage for the Bulldogs since 19:12 in the second half.

The final minutes were a back-and-forth battle consisting of four lead changes and two ties. After grabbing a slight one-point edge with 4:23 to play, a jam from Edwards solidified the lead that Georgia held onto for the remainder of the contest. Eight straight points from Edwards in two minutes propelled Georgia to its largest lead up to that point of nine, 69-60, with 1:48 to play. Those eight points plus a layup from graduate Donnell Gresham Jr. were part of a 10-0 run for the Bulldogs over 2:35. With 23 seconds remaining, a layup from Edwards sealed the 73-64 Georgia victory.

Following the week-long break for Christmas, the Bulldogs will host Austin Peay Monday, Dec. 30, at 7 p.m. The contest will be televised on SEC Network +.

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