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
”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
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
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
”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
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.”