COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — Georgia freshman guard Anthony Edwards understandably owns all the hype, but Texas A&M’s Emanuel Miller was the top freshman on the court Saturday.
Miller scored a career-high 21 points and A&M wiped out a 12-point deficit to defeat Georgia 74-69.
The game was tied 59-59 with 4:32 remaining before the Aggies outscored the Bulldogs 15-10 the rest of the way. Miller scored 17 of his points in the second half. He also had a game-high 10 rebounds for his second career double-double.
The Aggies (12-12, 6-6 Southeastern Conference) avenged a 63-48 loss at Georgia (12-13, 2-10) on Feb. 1. The Bulldogs used a 15-6 burst in that game to start the second half and never looked back. This time, the Aggies outscored the Bulldogs 45-31 in the second half to pull away late, and snap a two-game losing streak.
“They took 30 shots in the first half but only 22 in the second half,” A&M coach Buzz Williams said of the Bulldogs. “That means we were winning time of possession, and that means we were not turning the ball over.”
Edwards, the possible top pick in this summer’s NBA draft, was held to six points on 2-of-7 shooting. Rayshaun Hammonds led the Bulldogs with 15 points.
“He’s been sick somewhat, but he just didn’t have a good game,” Georgia coach Tom Crean said of Edwards. “He wasn’t very aggressive, and didn’t move well without the ball.”
Edwards scored 29 points and grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds in the teams’ first meeting.
“We just came in with a chip on our shoulder, knowing what he did last game,” Miller said.
The Bulldogs cruised to a 38-29 lead at halftime on Saturday thanks to making half their shots from the field (15 of 30) and more than doubling up the Aggies in rebounds (21-10) in the first 20 minutes. Georgia wound up with a 34-28 overall rebounding advantage.
The defensive-minded Aggies stuck with their game plan and forced 21 turnovers, most by an A&M opponent since Florida Gulf Coast also had 21 on Dec. 2, 2015.
Miller, who’s from Ontario, Canada, originally signed with Williams at Virginia Tech but then followed him to A&M last summer. The Aggies have leaned more and more on Miller as the season has worn on, and he made 11 of 14 free throws Saturday to help key the comeback.
“My teammates have confidence in me, my coaches have confidence in me, so why can’t I have confidence in myself?” Miller said. “I have all the support in the world behind me.”
Georgia: Saturday’s outcome was par for the Bulldogs’ course this season, in teasing their fans with a lead before unraveling in the second half. At this point it would take a miracle — aka an SEC tournament championship — for Edwards to play in the NCAA Tournament in what’s shaping up as his lone collegiate season.
Texas A&M: When the Aggies were losing three straight games to Harvard, Temple and Fairfield in late November and early December, their fans wondered if they would win a league game. A&M is .500 a dozen games into league play, and its fan base is excited for the future under Williams.
A&M’s Quenton Jackson stole the ball from Edwards near midcourt, then flipped a pass to Savion Flagg who launched an alley-oop pass to Emanuel Miller for a rim-rattling slam dunk that tied the game at 40-40 with 15:05 remaining.
STAT OF THE DAY
A&M outscored Georgia 26-9 in points off turnovers, including 24-4 in the second half.
HE SAID IT
“As long as there is time on the clock, the game is not over.” — A&M’s Jackson on the Aggies overcoming a 12-point deficit against the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs host No. 11 Auburn on Wednesday.
The Aggies play at Alabama on Wednesday.
For more AP college basketball coverage: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and http://twitter.com/AP_Top25