Bulldogs Bypass the Blazers, 93-81
ATHENS, Ga. - Georgia Basketball unofficially opened the 2019-20 season with a 93-81 win over Valdosta State University in an exhibition Friday night in Stegeman Coliseum.
Georgia’s starting lineup featured three newcomers including freshmen Anthony Edwards and Toumani Camara, as well as graduate transfer Donnell Gresham Jr.
In his freshman debut, Edwards led Georgia in scoring, posting 18 points and finishing 7-of-11 from the field. Three other Bulldogs contributed double-digit points including senior Tyree Crump (15), junior Rayshaun Hammonds (16) and freshman Sahvir Wheeler (10).
“Based on the way we have been practicing, that is what I expected,” Georgia Head Coach Tom Crean said. “I thought Sahvir Wheeler really came in and changed the dynamic of the game. I started five guys, but I tried to tell the team that we don’t have a starting lineup. If you can get a team that has seven, eight, upwards of nine starters, that means you have that many potential finishers. The things that we have not spent a lot of time on are the areas we need to improve. There is a long list of things we need to get better at but, bottom line, they kept playing hard, had a lot of deflections and there is a ton of room for improvement.”
After a slow start, a three from Edwards and two made free-throws from Crump got the Bulldogs within two of the Blazers. Crump tied the game, 23-all, with 8:54 to play in the first half. Edwards gave Georgia its first lead since 3-2 at 26-25 with a shot from behind the arc with eight minutes remaining.
The Bulldogs ended the half on a 4-of-5 streak from the field and forced four Valdosta turnovers to maintain their 42-37 lead going into the locker room.
Georgia came out strong on both sides of the ball in the second half, going on an 8-0 run to gain its first double-digit lead of the game. In the first seven minutes of play, the Bulldogs were 6-of-8 while holding the Blazers to 2-of-11.
With 9:18 to play, the Bulldogs scored six points in 35 seconds to extend their lead to 20, 78-58. In the final minutes of the game, Georgia maintained its double-digit lead to seal the 93-81 victory.
Up next, Georgia will travel to Charlotte on Friday, Oct. 25, for another exhibition game against the 49ers. The Bulldogs will host Western Carolina for their season opener on Tuesday, Nov. 5, at 7:00 p.m.