Michigan State gathered itself after the Edwards’ onslaught, stretching the lead back to nine before hitting four straight free throws in the final 34 seconds.
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo called Winston a “shell of himself” after a quiet game in the Maui opener against Virginia Tech.
Brother Zachary Winston was hit by a train and killed Nov. 9, a death that has taken an emotional and physical toll on the senior guard. A preseason All-American and favorite for national player of the year, Winston was held to seven points on 2-of-8 shooting in Michigan State’s 71-66 loss to the Hokies.
Winston was back to being himself in the first half against Georgia.
Confidently stroking in jumpers and working his way into the lane, Winston had 13 points in the first half while orchestrating the Spartans’ efficient offense. Michigan State made 20 of 36 shots and led 57-33 at halftime.
Georgia carried its poor perimeter shooting from the Maui opener into the second game. The Bulldogs went 3-for-13 from 3 in the first half after going 4-for-16 from the arc in their opening loss to Dayton.
Everything changed in the second half. With 16:26 to play, the Spartans led 61-33. But Georgia outscored Michigan State 40-14. Edwards got hot and what looked like a blowout suddenly became a game.
Edwards, who had six points in the Maui opener, scored 13 points during a 20-3 second-half run and kept pouring in baskets, mostly on pull-up and step-back 3-pointers.
“When I step on the floor I don't really care about what people think I should do,” said Edwards, who finished 11 for 26 from the floor. “I just play for my team. I’ve always been a team player. My team's always behind me.”
Georgia plays again Wednesday in the seventh-place game.