ATHENS, Ga. (AP) - Just when Georgia players were at risk of losing their confidence and perhaps their season, Anthony Edwards lifted his game and his team.
Now coach Tom Crean hopes to see even more from his freshman leader.
Edwards recorded a double-double with 29 points and a career-high 15 rebounds to lead Georgia past Texas A&M 63-48 on Saturday,
The Bulldogs snapped a four-game losing streak.
“We were definitely going to be dealing with a confidence crisis, and our guys worked through this,” Crean said. “They figured out a way to get better.”
Edwards had eight points in a 15-6 run to open the second half, giving Georgia (12-9, 2-6 Southeastern Conference) its first double-digit lead. He added a breakaway power jam with less than three minutes remaining, stretching the lead to 59-42.
“I just thought he was incredible,” said Texas A&M coach Buzz Williams. “I thought his impact on winning may have been as good as it’s been all year, particularly on the glass.”
Wendell Mitchell led Texas A&M (10-10, 4-4) with 13 points. The Aggies’ streak of three straight SEC road wins was snapped.
It was Edwards’ second career double-double - and his second in as many games. He had 23 points and 10 rebounds in Georgia’s 72-69 loss at Missouri on Tuesday night.
Edwards is the nation’s top-scoring freshman with his average of 19.3 points per game. Crean said Edwards’ effort against the Aggies was his most complete “thus far.”
“But as I said to him near the end of the game, it’s all got to turn up now that we’re into February,” Crean said.
Led by Edwards, Georgia outrebounded Texas A&M 44-34. He said his message to teammates was to focus on Aggies freshman rebounding leader Josh Nebo.
“I said box out Nebo and I’ll go grab the rebound,” Edwards said. Nebo had only two points and five rebounds.
Dismal shooting hurt the Aggies. Texas A&M shot only 20% from the field, making 19 of 59 shots.
A drive to the basket by Edwards gave Georgia a 22-21 lead, and Sahvir Wheeler’s layup before time expired in the first half pushed the advantage to three points at 24-21.
Edwards sank two 3-pointers and added a reverse layup in the strong run to open the second half.
Texas A&M: Outrebounded by Georgia, the Aggies couldn’t duplicate their dominant 46-21 rebounding advantage in Tuesday night’s 63-58 win at Tennessee. The advantage on the boards enabled Texas A&M to overcome 30% shooting against the Vols. The woeful shooting, especially on long-range shots, continued against the Bulldogs. The Aggies made only 5 of 25 3-pointers. … Andre Gordon had 10 points.
Georgia: Wheeler, who originally signed with Texas A&M, had nine points, five assists and six turnovers. Wheeler, a Houston native whose family now leaves in College Station, Texas, was released from his scholarship with the Aggies after former coach Billy Kennedy was fired. .”It was nothing personal,” Wheeler said of his first game against the Aggies. … Georgia committed turnovers on its first two possessions before managing to take a shot and had 20 giveaways for the game.
30 YEARS LATER
Georgia celebrated the 30-year anniversary of its 1990 SEC title - still the school’s only regular-season conference championship. Former coach Hugh Durham said second-year coach Tom Crean is off to a good start in recruiting. Durham added “it takes more than one” top recruit and said Edwards lacks the supporting cast that another top national recruit, Dominique Wilkins, enjoyed in the early 1980s.
Texas A&M’s Quenton Jackson fouled out with 10:06 remaining in the game, only seven seconds after collecting his fourth foul. Williams had a substitute at the scorer’s table when Jackson, who had seven points, fouled out, but Williams said he wasn’t trying to take Jackson out of the game.
Texas A&M: The Aggies return home to play Missouri on Tuesday night.
Georgia: The Bulldogs play at Florida on Wednesday night.
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