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David Edole

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Georgia's Nicolas Claxton ‘is a pro,' gaining respect quickly in SEC - Jan 15, 2019

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AUBURN, Ala. - The Georgia basketball team didn't waste any time getting over Saturday's loss at No. 11 Auburn.

'We have a big one on Tuesday against Kentucky and we're looking forward to getting back in front of our fans,' Bulldogs sophomore Nicolas Claxton (211-SF-99) said, literally minutes after stepping out of the locker room in Auburn Arena.

Georgia (9-6, 1-2) plays host to the No. 19-ranked Wildcats (12-3, 2-1) at 7 p.m. at Stegeman Coliseum (TV: ESPN) in the first of six straight sold out home games.

The Bulldogs are 7-1 at home this season.

Claxton figures to be at the center of Kentucky's attention, entering Saturday's game at Auburn as the only player in the SEC who has led his team in points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals in a game this season, and he has done it twice.

Tigers coach Bruce Pearl said he was certainly impressed with Claxton at Auburn.

'Claxton is a pro, he's got the length to block shots, he's got the perimeter game, he's got the feel, he's got the skillset to handle the ball and he's tough,' Pearl said. 'He gets a little bigger, then he is going to dish it out even more.'

Georgia battled at Auburn, where the Tigers have won 24 of 25 homes games since the start of the 2017-18 season, but the Bulldogs couldn't get within striking distance late.

'We felt like we were so close but so far, we'd cut the lead but they'd come down and hit a three,' Claxton said. 'But we know what we have to build on.'

Claxton said he's growing accustomed to the extra attention he's receiving as a bonafide All-SEC candidate this season.

'I wouldn't say it's pressure,' Claxton said. 'It's giving my all every time I step on court, and that's something I've been doing since a very young age.'

Claxton leads the SEC with 3.3 blocked shots per game and he's tied for the rebounding lead in the league with 9.5 each outing.


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