Bulldogs blow 20-point lead in loss to Missouri

Georgia's Tyree Crump (left) heads to the basket as Missouri's Xavier Pinson defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Georgia's Tyree Crump (left) heads to the basket as Missouri's Xavier Pinson defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Credit: Jeff Roberson

Credit: Jeff Roberson

Georgia could not hold a 20-point lead in the second half and fell to Missouri 72-69 on Tuesday night.

The Bulldogs (11-9, 1-6 SEC) jumped to an early lead, largely in part to star freshman Anthony Edwards, who scored 14 in the first half alone to put Georgia ahead 42-30 at halftime.

Then, as Georgia’s offense lagged, Missouri (10-10, 2-5) woke up. Guard Xavier Pinson scored 16 points in the last 14 minutes of the game, fueling a comeback. Missouri forward Reed Nikko reached a career high with 13 points, 11 of which came in the second half.

Leading by two with nine seconds left, Nikko blocked a potential game-tying jump shot from Edwards.

“Momentum is always up for grabs,” Bulldogs coach Tom Crean said. “And in the second half, Reed Nikko took momentum from us. ... Reed Nikko changed the energy of the game for them.”

Georgia scored just eight points in the last 12 minutes of the game. But Crean said offense wasn’t the only problem.

“I don’t think we stayed urgent enough on the defensive end,” Crean said.

Edwards played every minute of the game, finishing with 23 points. Tyree Crump and Toumani Camara scored 13 and 12, respectively, for the Bulldogs.

Missouri, which ended a four-game losing streak, ran into foul trouble early, finishing the first half with 12. Mitchell Smith and Nikko both finished the game with four.

The Tigers held Georgia’s leading rebounder, Rayshaun Hammonds, to one. Hammonds had averaged 8.1 rebounds per game prior to facing Missouri.

The Bulldogs will continue their SEC play against Texas A&M on Saturday at home.