Nicolas Claxton’s two clutch baskets in the final minutes helped Georgia turn back a Georgia Tech comeback bid and notch a 70-59 win over its in-state rival on Saturday.
Claxton scored a team-high 13 points and had a dunk and a 3-pointer on back-to-back possessions to help Georgia retain the momentum. The 3-pointer came as the shot clock was running down, gave the Bulldogs a 56-47 lead with 2:34 remaining and seemed to take the wind out of the Yellow Jackets. The sophomore added 13 rebounds, six assists and a career-high six blocked shots.
The Bulldogs (7-4) also got 12 points from Teshaun Hightower, 11 points and seven rebounds from Rayshaun Hammonds, and 10 points from Tyree Crump.
Georgia Tech (6-5) was led by freshman Michael Devoe with 14 points and five rebounds. Jose Alvarado added 11 points - although he was 3-for-20 from the field — and eight rebounds, and James Banks III also had 11 points and eight rebounds.
It was the fourth straight season in which the Bulldogs have beaten the Yellow Jackets. Georgia coach Tom Crean won his debut against Tech, while Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner dropped to 0-3 against the Bulldogs. Georgia now leads the all-time series 105-90.
Georgia used a 13-0 run midway in the first half and took a 25-9 lead when Hammonds made a 3-pointer with 3:11 remaining. Tech managed to rally, thanks to back-to-back baskets by Moses Wright, and trimmed the deficit to 29-19 at halftime.
Georgia Tech shot only 26.7 percent in the first half - it was 10 percent before a surge in the final three minutes - and was limited to its lowest first-half total of the season.
The Yellow Jackets got as close as three points in the second half before the Bulldogs went on a 10-3 run and had a 46-36 lead.
Georgia Tech plays again on Dec. 28 against Kennesaw State. Georgia is off until Dec. 30 when it hosts UMass.
—Field Level Media