Claxton too much for Jackets as Georgia beats Georgia Tech

ATLANTA (AP) — Nicolas Claxton had 13 points and 13 rebounds, Teshaun Hightower added 12 points, and Georgia beat Georgia Tech 70-59 on Saturday.

The Bulldogs (7-4) never trailed as they won for the fourth time in five games. Rayshaun Hammonds, Georgia’s leading scorer, played just a few seconds of final 15 minutes because of foul trouble and an apparent knee injury sustained in the game.

Georgia Tech (6-5) couldn’t recover from a poor shooting effort in the first half. Though the Yellow Jackets pulled within three with 6:58 remaining in the game, they were essentially done when Tyree Crump hit a fadeaway 3 as he fell out bounds to push the lead to seven at the 1:28 mark.

Claxton finished with six assists and six blocked shots. He dunked a putback and hit a 3-pointer on consecutive possessions to push the lead to 56-47 with 2:32 remaining.

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Michael Devoe scored 14 points, and Jose Alvarado and James Banks each added 11 for Georgia Tech, which has lost four of six.

Georgia continued its tendency to start slowly in the second half. As it did in blowing an 18-point lead last week to lose by two points at home to No. 20 Arizona State, the Bulldogs let the Jackets get back in the game with a four-point possession.

A flagrant foul on Hightower led to two free throws by Devoe and a dunk by Banks as Georgia Tech cut the lead to six. Moses Wright followed with a three-point play that made it 29-26.

PLAYING HURT

It wasn’t immediately clear when Hammonds hurt his knee. He picked up his third foul with 14:47 remaining and played only seven seconds before picking up his fourth and leaving the game for good. … Alvarado injured a knee late in the first half and finished 3 for 20 from the field. … Banks seemed to be favoring his right shoulder during the game.

BRUTAL START

Georgia Tech looked like a young team playing its third game in six days, missing 20 of its first 23 shots. The Jackets had seven turnovers with five shots blocked to trail 25-9 at the 3:02 mark. Evan Cole stopped a 13-0 run.

CREAN INFURIATED

After Devoe scored an uncontested layup with 4.9 left in the first, Georgia coach Tom Crean was visibly upset with his team and called a timeout.

RIVALRY

Georgia leads the series 14-10 since the schools switched to campus-only venues in 1995-96. This was Georgia’s fourth victory in Atlanta during that stretch. The home team had won 18 of the last 23 games.

NEXT TIME AROUND

McCamish Pavilion was the site of Crean’s last loss at Indiana, an NIT setback that led to his firing. Crean sat out one season before signing a six-year, $16 million contract with Georgia.

UP NEXT

Georgia: Hosts Massachusetts on Dec. 30.

Georgia Tech: Hosts Kennesaw State on Friday.

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