Hammonds scores 26 as Georgia beats Delaware State

Credit: AJC file photo

Credit: AJC file photo

Anthony Edwards left Tuesday’s post-game press conference with a very blunt message.

“We got to get way better at defense as a team,” Edwards said after Georgia’s 95-86 win over The Citadel.

Three days later, the Bulldogs saw a good bit of improvement in their 100-66 win over Delaware State as they advanced to 3-0 on the season. It marked the first game in which Georgia allowed fewer than 70 points. The Bulldogs also forced 19 turnovers that resulted in 28 points.

“Considering we took a step back defensively Tuesday night, to take a step forward like we did tonight, I think it’s a good sign,” head coach Tom Crean said. “They responded to the film. .... They saw it wasn’t just a coach getting on them about it. They didn’t like what they saw.”

The defensive improvement for Georgia didn’t come at the expense of its offensive production. Leading the charge for the Bulldogs was forward Rayshaun Hammonds. Hammonds put up 26 points on 11-for-14 shooting. It was a huge improvement for him compared to his first two games, where he had seven and 10 points, respectively. More importantly for Hammonds, this game helped ignite his confidence as the season begins to pick up.

“It’s a boost,” Hammonds said. “I’m just trying to be a playmaker. ... Just doing that makes it better every game.”

For Edwards, it was a night to forget. After averaging 26.5 points in his first two games, he put up a less-than-stellar six points. Still, there were positives the highly-touted freshman could take away. In a game where he didn’t have to serve as the team’s primary scorer, he could focus elsewhere. Running point, Edwards racked up seven assists. On defense, he had nine deflections that led to three steals.

“He is a very good distributor,” Crean said. “Tonight he did a really good job of moving that ball and he put a lot into his defense.”

It was possibly Georgia’s best game of the year, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Going into a stretch where they play Georgia Tech then go to Hawaii for the Maui Invitational, the Bulldogs are picking up some much-needed momentum in this young season.

“We’re really in the first chapter of a book with this team,” Crean said. “We’ll look at this, got a list of things we got to get done this weekend and get ready to move.”

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