Edwards scores 37 but Bulldogs lose to Michigan State in Hawaii

Cassius Winston had 28 points and eight assists, and No. 3 Michigan State withstood Anthony Edwards’ second-half outburst to beat Georgia 93-85 at the Maui Invitational on Tuesday.

Michigan State (4-2) was sharp early, building a 28-point lead early in the second half. Once Edwards got rolling, the Spartans had no answer.

Projected as a lottery pick, the 6-foot-5 Edwards brought the Bulldogs (3-2) back almost entirely by himself, scoring 33 of his 37 points in the second half.

Edwards hit 7 of 13 3s — many of those contested — in the second half and threw a two-handed, overhead bounce pass to Rayshaun Hammonds for a layup to pull Georgia within 75-73.

“He's got an infectious energy with him with his teammates that is rare,” Georgia coach Tom Crean said. “Obviously, he scored a lot of points today, but if we build on what he did with pushing the ball up the court like that today, that's going to pay major, major dividends for us.”

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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.

Credit: Darryl Oumi

Credit: Darryl Oumi

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.

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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.