Spartans hold off Edwards, UGA
No. 3 Michigan State rebounds from upset with 93-85 victory
LAHAINA — Less than 24 hours after being on the losing end of a big upset, No. 3 Michigan State was looking to bounce back.
The Spartans did, though the win didn’t come easy.
A day after losing to Virginia Tech, Michigan State held off a furious charge by Anthony Edwards and Georgia 93-85 in a Maui Jim Maui Invitational consolation semifinal Tuesday morning at the Lahaina Civic Center.
“We just focused on a lot of … just focused within ourselves,” said Spartans star Cassius Winston, who scored a team-high 28 points after being held to just seven against the Hokies.
“We got all the pieces. We got everything we need to be a really good team. We just got to figure out what’s going to get us going and how everyone’s going to bring their best each and every night.
“We got to come together as a group within ourselves and make that commitment to ourselves to be the best that we can be.”
Xavier Tillman added 15 points and 11 rebounds while Aaron Henry had 14 points for Michigan State (4-2), which will face UCLA in the fifth-place game today at 9:30 a.m.
Edwards showed why he is projected as a possible top pick in the NBA draft with an extrodinary effort in the second half as the Bulldogs tried to dig themselves out of a 52-31 hole. The 6-foot-5 guard drained seven 3-pointers in scoring 33 of his game-high 37 points in the half.
The Spartans grew their lead to 28 points until Edwards inspired a 20-4 run to get Georgia back in the game.
“When I step on the floor I don’t really care about what people think I should do on court. I just play for my team,” he said. “I’ve always been a team player.”
With 6:25 remaining, Edwards popped a 3 to pull the Bulldogs within 72-68. Rayshaun Hammonds, who finished with 13 points, later made a 3-point shot and a fastbreak layup to close the gap to 75-73.
Henry answered quickly with a 3 to help the Spartans hold their ground. The Bulldogs were only able to get within four points thereafter as Michigan State closed it out from the free-throw line.
“The sad part is we did such a good job of guarding Antman,” Michigan coach Tom Izzo said of Edwards. “We did such a good job of running the ball, we did such a good job of taking care of the ball and then all of a sudden, boom, boom, boom, I mean, they go zone and we throw the ball right to them.
“When they cut that lead to 10, to eight, to two, different times we answered the bell too. That wasn’t easy and we had some guys make some big plays.”
Georgia coach Tom Crean said that he knew coming in that they were playing “one of the premier programs in the country” and hopes his team will use this experience to improve their game, leadership and maturity.
“We finally figured out in the second half what it takes to compete at the level that they play at. And that’s what it was,” Crean said. “To play Dayton yesterday and to play Michigan State thus far, two tremendous programs, two very, very well-coached, tough, disciplined groups, gives us an idea what this has to look like.”
The Bulldogs (4-2) will try to avoid a winless Maui trip today when they face tournament host Chaminade in the seventh-place game at 4 p.m.
* Dakota Grossman is at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ngumezi 0-1 0-0 0, Hammonds 5-10 1-2 13, Gresham 1-6 6-6 8, Crump 2-5 1-2 7, Edwards 11-26 8-8 37, Camara 2-2 0-0 4, Peake 0-1 0-0 0, C.Brown 1-2 0-0 2, Howard 0-2 2-2 2, Wheeler 4-7 1-2 10, Fagan 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 27-65 19-22 85.
MICHIGAN ST. (4-2)
Bingham 2-5 1-1 5, Tillman 4-10 6-10 15, Henry 5-9 3-4 14, Watts 2-7 2-2 6, Winston 10-16 6-6 28, Marble 0-1 1-2 1, G.Brown 2-5 2-2 7, Hall 4-6 0-0 9, Kithier 0-1 0-0 0, Loyer 2-2 0-0 6, Ahrens 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 32-63 21-27 93.
Halftime–Michigan St. 52-31. 3-Point Goals–Georgia 12-31 (Edwards 7-16, Crump 2-5, Hammonds 2-5, Wheeler 1-2, Gresham 0-1, Ngumezi 0-1, C.Brown 0-1), Michigan St. 8-17 (Loyer 2-2, Winston 2-4, Tillman 1-1, G.Brown 1-2, Hall 1-2, Henry 1-2, Bingham 0-1, Watts 0-3). Fouled Out–None. Rebounds–Georgia 32 (Edwards 6), Michigan St. 34 (Tillman 11). Assists–Georgia 12 (Wheeler 4), Michigan St. 20 (Winston 8). Total Fouls–Georgia 19, Michigan St. 15. Technicals–Hall. A–2,400 (2,400).