American loses 2nd in row, 81-55 vs Georgetown

In summing up American’s challenge against foes such as

16th-ranked Georgetown, Eagles coach Jeff Jones held his right

thumb and index finger less than an inch apart.

”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


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


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


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


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


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


”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.”