LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) 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.
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.
Edwards got hot, Michigan State fell flat 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.
Edwards showed why he’s a projected NBA lottery pick with an offensive show in the second half. Georgia just didn’t have enough to complete the comeback.
Michigan State blew a big lead and couldn’t stop Edwards but showed some grit in pulling out the victory.
Georgia will face the Chaminade-UCLA loser in Wednesday’s seventh-place game.
Michigan State plays the Chaminade-UCLA winner in the fifth-place game.
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