Rayshaun Hammonds (20) pushes past a Delaware State defender. The University of Georgia men’s basketball team hosted Delaware State to win by a final score of 100-66 on Nov. 15, 2019, in Athens, Georgia. (Photo/Kathryn Skeean, kskeean@randb.com)

Georgia finished out a 82-78 win over Georgia Tech on Wednesday despite a slow start on offense. It was the Bulldogs fifth win in a row over the Yellow Jackets, and the senior class will leave with a perfect record under their belts.

But the win wasn’t always a certainty. 

Another strong performance from Rayshaun Hammonds and a late push from freshman Anthony Edwards negated Georgia’s inefficient start and helped continue the streak.

Late-half breakthrough

Georgia and Georgia Tech combined for three points through the first four minutes. The Bulldogs went 0-for-9 from the field before making their first shot. Both teams got settled into the pace and went back and forth for a few possessions until the Georgia offense went cold again.

Georgia Tech’s length bothered the Bulldogs in the paint with James Banks III blocking and affecting shots at the rim. The Yellow Jackets also opted for a zone-heavy defense for the majority of the night, and Edwards struggled to make his mark.

Hammonds had no trouble finding his rhythm, however. The junior set up shop in the middle of the zone and made his mark, similar to his 26-point outing against The Citadel. Hammonds eclipsed 19 points in the first half, added five rebounds and hit two 3-pointers as well. Georgia Tech threatened to take a double-digit lead if it wasn’t for Hammonds steady play.

The Bulldogs started to pull away with around five minutes to go in the half after untimely personal fouls and turnovers put Georgia Tech at a disadvantage.

Georgia went into halftime with an eight point lead and never let the lead slip.

Edwards finds rhythm

Edwards totaled 53 points through his first two games in a Georgia uniform. In his next game, he totaled six. It looked like another low-scoring effort from Edwards with 30 minutes gone. The freshman was the focus of the Georgia Tech defense and struggled to get clean looks and easy drives to the basket in the first half. The Yellow Jackets’ zone forced the ball out of Edwards’ hands on multiple occasions, and it opened up the game for his teammates.

The game started to loosen up for Edwards with just under 10 minutes to go, and he helped to fight off a Yellow Jacket surge with 16 second-half points. Drawing fouls, grabbing rebounds and forcing turnovers were keys Edwards used to help Georgia maintain its lead and closing out the win.  

Three who mattered

Rayshaun Hammonds: The junior forward was the difference for the second game in a row. He matched his 26 points against The Citadel with another 26 on Wednesday. Once again, he found openings when the Yellow Jackets went into a zone and helped finish baskets in transition as well. Hammonds’ performance in the first half steadied a Georgia offense that had trouble putting the ball in the basket.

Anthony Edwards: Despite struggling early, Edwards came into his own in the second half. The freshman finished with 18 points, 5-for-15 from the field and eight rebounds. His energy on defense and active hands were invaluable for the Bulldogs.

Michael Devoe: The sophomore was Georgia Tech’s leading scorer on the night with 31 points. He kept the Yellow Jackets in the game even when Georgia looked like blowing the game open.

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