EditorsNote: update 2: rewords third graf
Third-ranked Michigan State nearly coughed up a 28-point lead, then rallied in the final minutes to hold off Georgia 93-85 on Tuesday in the consolation bracket at the Maui Invitational in Lahaina, Hawaii.
Michigan State (4-2) moves on to face UCLA on Wednesday in the fifth-place game. Georgia (4-2) will battle Chaminade for seventh place in the eight-team event.
The Spartans built a 21-point halftime lead behind 24 combined first-half points from Cassius Winston and Aaron Henry. The duo ended up with 28 and 14 points, respectively, while Xavier Tillman added 15 points — including a critical 3-pointer with less than three minutes remaining and Georgia threatening.
The Bulldogs, who lost 80-61 to Dayton in Monday’s opening round, appeared headed to another blowout loss. But after falling behind 61-33 with 16:26 to go in the second half, Anthony Edwards led a rollicking comeback.
The ballyhooed freshman scored a career-high 37 points to power the rally, 33 of which came in the second half. He threatened Adam Morrison’s Maui Invitational record of 43 points with an array of baskets, including seven 3-pointers.
His most spectacular play may have been a pass. He snapped a bounce pass in transition to Rayshaun Hammonds that cut the deficit to a single basket with 4:47 to go. Hammonds scored 13 points, and Sahvir Wheeler scored 10 points with five rebounds and four assists.
Michigan State responded after the lead was cut to two points with a Henry 3-pointer and a couple of Winston free throws. After an Edwards 3-pointer, Tillman buried a jumper from behind the arc that pushed the Spartans’ lead back to seven. The margin was never any closer than four points after that.
Michigan State outscored Georgia in the paint, 34-22, but the Spartans scored only 10 of those in the second half. Three-point and free-throw shooting buoyed Michigan State in the second half. The Spartans went 5 of 9 from deep after intermission, and 12 of 15 from the foul line.
—Field Level Media