WASHINGTON, D.C. – No. 16 Georgetown needed a little halftime advice from an unusual source in order to shake off their exam week rust on Saturday afternoon. The result was a convincing 81-55 victory over local rival American behind a dominant second-half performance in front of 9,964 at the Verizon Center.
In a bit of a role reversal, it was Hollis Thompson, not Coach John Thompson III that figured out a way to jump-start a stagnant Georgetown offense that had just as many field goals as turnovers – nine – after the first 20 minutes
“Hollis [Thompson] said at halftime, cuts are open late, so keep looking,” Henry Sims said about the second half adjustments. “My teammates were cutting so hard my job is to get them the ball.”
Henry Sims, who leads the team in assists, struggled along with the rest of his teammates in the first half and was held without an assist and to only four points. Those numbers changed, and they changed fast.
A quick 6-2 run to start the second half prompted American Coach Jeff Jones to call an early timeout as the Hoyas took their largest lead of the game at 38-28. Sims spread the wealth evenly by finding teammates Nate Lubick, Markel Starks, and Thompson for easy layups towards the end of their cuts to the basket.
Charles Hinkle responded with back-to-back jumpers of his own in between another Sims to Lubick feed but it would be the last time the Eagles (8-4) cut the deficit to single-digits on the afternoon.
Sims went on to record six assists, all in the second half as well as scoring 17 points behind an efficient 7-of-10 shooting from the field.
Hinkle, a senior transfer from Vanderbilt, came into the game as the nation’s sixth leading scorer at 22.2 points per game but was held to just 16 on 2-of-7 shooting from deep.
The Hoyas (9-1) used a full-court press from there and it immediately showed dividends with a Jason Clark steal and dunk to push the lead to 44-33. Sims followed it up with a dunk of his own courtesy of a Lubick lob before getting a fast-break layup off of yet another Clark steal that brought the crowd to their feet with the Hoyas up 48-35 with 14 minutes 32 seconds remaining.
Soon thereafter, the rout was on for the Hoyas.
“We may have worn them down a bit,” Thompson III said. “We started off the game where several of our possessions were turnovers, but I think we came out in the second half and wanted to go inside.”
Georgetown outscored American 49-29 in the second half including a 36-10 advantage in the paint.
Jabril Trawick found fellow freshman Otto Porter slashing down the lane for a layup after Georgetown’s eighth and final steal of the afternoon for the largest game’s largest margin at 77-49 with two minutes remaining.
Starks hit three straight threes early on to give the Hoyas a 15-10 advantage. The sophomore point guard established career-highs with 18 points and four three-pointers. Thompson rounded out the double-digit scorers with 15 points but failed to hit a three for the second consecutive game.
Up Next: Georgetown returns home on Thursday Dec 22 for a rematch against Memphis. The Hoyas won their earlier contest with the Tigers 91-88 in overtime of the fifth-place game at the Maui Invitational. It was their third straight win over Memphis since a loss in December 2007.
Hoyas Notes: Georgetown has now won 34 straight home non-conference games at the Verizon Center. With his two blocks, Sims passed DaJuan Summers to move into 24th place in school history with 65 blocks.