Georgia basketball beats Georgia Tech 70-59, wins 4th straight in rivalry

Georgia basketball-UGA-Rayshawn Hammonds
Georgia forward Rayshaun Hammonds and the Bulldogs had their hands full with Georgia Tech on Saturday in Atlanta.

ATLANTA —Georgia basketball made it four in a row over Georgia Tech on Saturday, pulling away for a 70-59 win.

Nicolas Claxton recorded his fifth double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds, along with six blocked shots and six assists.

Teshaun Hightower (12), Rayshaun Hammonds (11) and Tyree Crump (10) also hit double figures in scoring for the Bulldogs (7-4).

The Yellow Jackets (6-5) dropped to 5-2 at home with the loss in front of the sold-out crowd at McCamish Pavilion.

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The 6-foot-11 Claxton stepped up big in the clutch for Georgia, which never trailed in the game in evening its record to 1-1 in true road contests this season.

Claxton threw down an authoritative follow-up dunk at the 3:26 mark to give the Bulldogs a 53-47 lead, and he followed up with a 3-point shot to make it 56-47 and send many fans to the exits.

Georgia Tech trailed by 10 at halftime but rallied at the start of the second half with a 7-0 run, pulling to 29-26 on Moses Wright’s conventional 3-point play.

The Yellow Jackets had it down to two at 34-32 with 14:47 left on a  pair of Jose Alverado free throws.

Georgia held strong, however, as coach Tom Crean expertly turned to his bench.

Amanze Ngumezo answered with a dunk for the Bulldogs, and E’Torrion Wilridge hit a pair of free throws.

A pair of Claxton free throws at the 13:39 mark made it 40-33 and capped a much needed 6-1 run.

The Bulldogs pulled away minutes later when a Claxton tip-in spurred a 6-0 run that pushed the lead to double-digits and triggered Tech coach Josh Pastner to call timeout with his team trailing 46-36 and 8:27 left.

Georgia Tech had one last comeback in it, drawing to within four points with 3:59 left before Claxton took over.

Georgia led by as many as 16 points in the first half before taking a 29-19 lead into the break.

The Bulldogs were without Claxton most of the first half after he picked up his second foul and was pulled form the action at the 16:14 mark with the teams deadlocked 2-2.

Crean re-entered Claxton at the 7:51 mark and Georgia caught fire, his presence appearing to open up the floor as the Bulldogs scored the next five baskets in the midst of a 13-0 run.

A Hammonds’ 3-pointer made it 25-9 at the 3-minute mark, the Bulldogs in position to blow open the game.

Georgia Tech came to life when Wright hit a baseline jumper and followed with a layup in transition after a Hightower turnover.

Two more Bulldogs’ turnovers contributed to an 8-2 run that brought the Yellow Jackets to within 10 on Michael Devoe’s drive in the closing seconds.

UGA won last season’s game in Athens by an 80-59 count, but Georgia Tech leads the all-time series 105-89.

Georgia basketball returns to action at 6 p.m. on Dec. 30 at home against UMass before opening the SEC portion of the schedule at Tennessee on Jan. 5.

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