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Henry Sims Career Performance Helps Give Hoyas’ Opening Win

Henry Sims gave a monster, career-record performance in the Hoya’s 83-54 drubbing of Savannah State Nov. 12, recording 19 points, six rebounds and five assists in front of almost 10,000 cheering fans at Verizon Center. The team as a whole shot their fourth highest field-goal percentage in coach John Thompson III’s reign at 66.7 percent.

Savannah State head coach Horace Broadnax, a former Georgetown guard in the ’80s, was not expecting such an outstanding performance from Georgetown’s senior center. He said, based on past performance, his scouting report was not looking for Sims to be a problem for his Tigers. But Sims knew he had a chance to dominate.

“I’ve been playing a lot in the offseason. I work hard in practice every day,” Sims said. “That’s what happens when you work hard.”

Thompson said he has been telling Sims to make hustle plays.

“The effort he gave today — going after rebounds and had a couple blocked shots — his points came off effort plays as opposed to worrying about shots,” he said. “He took an awful shot in the first shot in the first half. But Henry doesn’t need to think about scoring; he needs to let his effort and scoring will come. So his effort was very good today.”

Sims got most of his opportunities in the second half, as most of the Hoyas did. Starting off on a poor note, Georgetown gave up a three to Savannah State’s leading 3-point scorer, Deric Rudolph and Sims turned the ball over on the ensuing rebound. But after that little tick, it was smooth sailing for the Hoyas. Georgetown went on 10-0 run with good teamwork and ball sharing, something the team has been focusing on.

“They were in tune with each other; and I think mostly on the defensive end,” Thompson said. “They’re communication was pretty good. I think understanding we can’t go into this thinking, ‘I need to stop my man.’ It’s ‘we have to stop them.’ And I think that notion of team defense, group mentality, gang mentality, helping each other, I think we were pretty good at that in the second half.”

Thompson subbed in all freshmen except Markel Starks with five minutes left in the game and a 20-point lead, giving fans the opportunity to see their future Hoya starters at work. Otto Porter and Greg Whittington, who played significant minutes at 25 and 17 respectively, contributed across the board. Porter made his mark defensively, recording a team-high eight rebounds while also managing nine points. Whittington left the game 3-for-4 from the floor and 2-for-3 from three-point range.

“Our freshmen played well. I thought they played very, very well,” Thompson said. “Greg has to get more rebounds, but they all do things. They all can defend; they all can make shots; they give you different things. It’s not all about putting the ball in the basket. I thought both Otto and Greg were very good today. Otto ended up with a full stat line, including a couple of blocks.”

Thompson cited a number of reasons for his team’s improvement in the second half. He said first-game jitters, even for himself, might have had a hold on his team before taking a break at halftime to regroup and renege on taking some of the rushed shots common in the first half. With that came an increased energy level and more communication throughout the squad.

“Their communication was pretty good,” Thompson said. “I think understanding we can’t go into this thinking, ‘I need to stop my man.’ It’s ‘we have to stop them.’ And I think that notion of team defense, group mentality, gang mentality, helping each other, I think we were pretty good at that in the second half.”

Georgetown takes on UNC Greensboro Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. at Verizon Center before going on the road to Maui.

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