The Georgia men’s basketball team had one of its most complete showings of the season to grab its first conference win against Tennessee by a score of 80-63.
Freshman Anthony Edwards had another stellar game with 26 points, six rebounds and three assists.
Edwards’ impact on the game went beyond the numbers, and after freshman point guard Sahvir Wheeler went down with an injury, Edwards took on even more of a playmaking role.
Georgia had nine different players enter the game and all nine scored. Eight players added rebounds, and six players recorded at least one steal. Senior guard Donnell Gresham Jr. had a game-high three steals.
The ball movement on offense was efficient for most of the game, allowing Georgia to only have seven turnovers throughout the first 39 minutes of the game before coughing up three within the final minute.
“I thought the ball movement, reversals, the four or five passes were huge for us, and I thought they made a huge difference,” head coach Tom Crean said. “I thought Rayshaun Hammonds did an outstanding job. I thought our guys did a good job of finding him.”
Hammonds had one of his most productive games of the year with 21 points on 7-10 shooting. That same efficiency was experienced by much of the Georgia offense. The Bulldogs shot 53.1% overall and 61.5% from the 3-point line.
Georgia's defense stood strong to hold Tennessee to shoot just 34.4% from the field to complete the all-around performance.
“The defense was able to sustain things,” Crean said. “We challenged shots better, we got our hands up better, our switching was better, and we were able to win the glass. We have to play that way.”
Crean was ecstatic about the fan turnout for the team’s second SEC home game. There were over 2,000 students in attendance and a few Georgia athletic greats as well.
Former Georgia – and current Detroit Lions – quarterback Matthew Stafford was in attendance with his family. Former Georgia defensive lineman David Pollack was at the game along with Georgia football head coach Kirby Smart.
“You don't make attendance jumps if you take it for granted,” Crean said. “You don't make attendance jumps -- obviously you've got to have something they're excited to see. It's got to be a happening. It's got to be an event.”
When Kentucky came to Stegeman Coliseum, Quavo and Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young sat courtside for the affair.
Crean referenced his stints at both Marquette and Indiana and said he planned on making Georgia basketball an environment similar to those basketball-heavy programs.
As Wednesday’s game neared its conclusion, fans chanted “Just like football,” proving Georgia basketball’s popularity is still increasing game by game.