American loses 2nd in row, 81-55 vs Georgetown
''Our margin of error,'' Jones explained, ''is like that.''
Then he opened his hands and held his palms more than 6 inches from each other.
''Georgetown - with the way some of their guys are playing and some of their talent - they've got a greater margin of error,'' Jones added. ''So we've ... got to play with a certain toughness.''
Playing without its second-leading scorer, American managed to stay close for a half Saturday, but Georgetown senior center Henry Sims took over and finished with 17 points and six assists in an 81-55 victory.
''Clearly, that was two very different halves,'' Jones said. ''Georgetown came out in the second half and came right at us and obviously, we didn't respond very well. We didn't have an answer.''
Charles Hinkle led American (8-4) with 16 points, a fair bit below his average of 22.2 coming into the game.
''They were just paying a lot of attention to him,'' Jones said. ''They played Charles hard, and they weren't going to let him beat them.''
The Eagles have followed an eight-game winning streak with two straight losses.
Georgetown (9-1), meanwhile, has won its past seven games.
This was the 52nd meeting between D.C. schools GU and AU, with the Hoyas holding a 44-8 edge, including eight victories in a row.
Lest there be any shred of a doubt whether Hoyas coach John Thompson III is more concerned with offense or defense, a quick exchange during Georgetown's postgame news conference made it quite clear.
A reporter asked Sims about having scored or assisted on 14 of Georgetown's first 16 points at the start of the second half.
''Can I say something before he answers this? And this is important,'' Thompson said, stepping between Sims and the podium.
''He was best today - and I told him this in the locker room - at his communication on defense. The whole time, you heard Henry talking. And our defense got better in the second half because our talking got better. And he was, I thought, outstanding,'' the coach explained. ''I heard Henry's voice calling screens, calling `switch,' `watch this.' And I think that's what he did better than anything. Better than the points. Better than the passes.''
Well, that might very well be. And the 6-foot-10 Sims certainly was a key part of Georgetown holding AU to 41 percent shooting for the game.
Still, it's hard to overlook what Sims did at the other end of the court. He assisted on back-door baskets on four consecutive possessions in the opening minutes after halftime as Georgetown broke open a tight game.
Markel Starks led the Hoyas with 18 points, and Hollis Thompson added 15 points and eight rebounds - and one very key suggestion, according to his coach, who said the junior forward noted at halftime that the Hoyas should be making their backdoor cuts later in possessions.
''Teammates were cutting hard,'' Sims said, ''so my job was to give them the ball.''
Without senior guard Troy Brewer, American began the game 5 for 16 on field-goal attempts, including 2 for 9 on 3-pointers. Brewer was replaced by junior Blake Jolivette, making his first start of the season.
Still, American kept the game close for most of the first half, closing to 24-22 on Jolivette's fallaway baseline jumper with about 2 1/2 minutes left in the period. Georgetown moved out to leads of as many as eight points but Simon McCormack's follow tip-in for AU right before the buzzer cut it to 32-26 at halftime.
But the Sims Show was yet to get started.
He had four points and zero assists as the second half began. But he passed to teammates on backdoor cuts over and over and over. First, he found Nate Lubick, then Starks, then Hollis Thompson, then Lubick again.
Sims kept coming, producing Georgetown's next score with a hook from just outside the paint. A couple of possessions later, he threw down an alley-oop slam off a pass from Starks, then completed a fast break with a layup while getting fouled.
It was part of a change in strategy that resulted in Georgetown scoring 36 points in the paint in the second half, after getting only six that way before halftime.
Suddenly, Georgetown was ahead 48-35 with about 14 1/2 minutes remaining, and the outcome was never again in any doubt.
''I think we may have worn them down a little bit,'' John Thompson said, ''which was good.''