No. 9 Hoyas bounce back after first loss
Shutting down an elite scorer helped No. 9 Georgetown quickly forget about a disappointing defeat.
Jason Clark scored 15 points and dominated defensively, Austin Freeman added 14 and the Hoyas rebounded from their first loss of the season with an 89-60 victory over Appalachian State on Sunday.
Clark clamped down on Mountaineers guard Donald Sims, whose 27.0 average entering the game made him the second-leading scorer in Division I.
''We knew we just had to be aggressive with (Sims),'' Clark said. ''We knew we couldn't let him get his shots off. We had to come to him and bring the defense to him. ... I think being aggressive with him kind of helped.''
Hollis Thompson and Nate Lubick added 11 points each and Chris Wright matched a career high with 12 assists for the Hoyas (9-1) in the first meeting between the schools.
The Hoyas' 27 assists matched their highest total since John Thompson III took over before the 2004 season.
''I'm not really trying to play flashy,'' Wright said sheepishly. ''I think I'm just making the right reads.''
Coming off a 68-65 loss at Temple on Thursday, the Hoyas displayed none of the early game struggles that hurt them against the Owls. Georgetown rode its athleticism and height advantage and dominated inside, surging to a quick 16-5 lead and producing a smothering defensive effort.
''In the locker room, I was a little nervous,'' Thompson said. ''Following the Temple game, the last two days we've done literally five minutes of offense — it's just been all defense. I'm sitting there, (thinking), 'Whew, we're probably going to come out a little rusty on offense.'''
Instead, Georgetown never let the Mountaineers (3-4), who were scoring 78 points a game, establish any rhythm and used Clark to negate Sims.
Sims and Jeremi Booth both scored 14 points for Appalachian State (3-4), which has lost four of five. The Mountaineers shot 20 for 56 from the field.
The Hoyas opened the second half on a 19-6 run, stretching a nine-point halftime lead to 60-38 on a running two-handed slam by Lubick with 10:45 remaining, and shot 72 percent (21 for 29) in the second half.
''Coach put an emphasis at halftime on getting three stops in a row at the beginning of the second half, and that's something we wanted to do,'' Wright said. ''When we get into transition, it's very hard to stop us because we have so many options.''
Sims was 4 for 14 from the field. Clark's hounding defense took Sims out of Appalachian State's offense from the start, relegating him to a supporting role for long stretches.
''I thought they did a good job of being physical with Donald,'' Mountaineers coach Jason Capel said. ''That's kind of been his Achilles' heel, when guys really get into him and get physical.''
Clark scored 13 first-half points and Georgetown used two 12-2 runs to take a 41-32 halftime lead.
The Mountaineers started 5 for 16 from the field and Sims was limited to six points on 2-for-7 shooting in the opening 20 minutes.
Thompson's 3-pointer out of the left corner gave the Hoyas their largest lead of the first half, 30-13, with 7:30 left, but Sims hit a runner in the lane with 0.2 seconds left to bring the Mountaineers within nine points.
Freshman Moses Avegba, ruled ineligible for Georgetown's first nine games for receiving an airline ticket from his native Nigeria to the United States from a non-family member, made his debut and scored four points in two mop-up minutes.
Avegba's arrival on the court drew loud cheers from the crowd, which included two Georgetown students dressed in biblical garb and long, fake beards holding ''Free Moses'' signs.