No. 16 Georgetown 81, American U. 55

Lest there be any shred of a doubt whether 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 senior center Henry Sims about having scored or

assisted on 14 of Georgetown’s first 16 points at the start of the

second half Saturday, leading the 16th-ranked Hoyas to an 81-55

victory over American.

”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’s 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, taking over early in the second half and finishing with

17 points and six assists. Sims assisted on back-door baskets on

four consecutive possessions in the opening minutes after halftime

as Georgetown (9-1) broke open a tight game en route to its seventh

victory in a row.

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.”

Charles Hinkle scored 16 for American (8-4), which has followed

an eight-game winning streak with two straight losses. Hinkle

entered averaging 22.2 points.

”They were just paying a lot of attention to him,” AU coach

Jeff Jones said. ”They played Charles hard, and they weren’t going

to let him beat them.”

Georgetown still has one more non-conference game before Big

East play starts, hosting Memphis on Thursday, the second time this

season those teams will face each other. The Hoyas won in overtime

at the Maui Invitational last month.

This was the 52nd meeting between D.C. schools GU and AU, with

the Hoyas holding a 44-8 edge, including the last eight.

AU had trouble with Georgetown’s typically stingy defense, and

John Thompson kept ordering up different looks: man-to-man, zone,


”Clearly, that was two very different halves. Georgetown came

out in the second half and came right at us and obviously, we

didn’t respond very well,” Jones said. ”We didn’t have an


Missing its second-leading scorer, injured 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,

pulling within 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


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.”