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Starks and Sims Lead Hoyas to Seventh-Straight Win

For a hot second, it looked like Georgetown had finally met their match in both size and intensity. American pushed Georgetown hard in the first half of their Dec. 17 matchup, but the Hoyas found a way around their stops in the second for the 81-55 win.

The Hoyas came into the game with energy — almost too much. Their pace was off and they quickly racked up four turnovers in the first six minutes for a total of nine in the first half. Markel Starks’ three-point shooting, a couple of key buckets from Hollis Thompson along with some foul shots kept them in the game with a six-point lead going into the half, but it was second half that would ensure the win.

Henry Sims was a part of seven of the first eight buckets, either one assists or with points himself. After walking into halftime with four points to his name, Sims ended the game with a team-high six assists and 17 points, a close second to Starks’ career-high 18-point game.

He did what he was supposed to do. He was open, he was putting it down,” coach John Thompson III said. “But the points he gave us were big, were key, we needed them.”

Starks told manager Eddie Bradley he felt “loose” coming into today’s game. “This was a good day, plain and simple, it’s just a good day,” Starks said. “I just came out and I shot it pretty well.”

Thompson III said during the halftime break the team talked about moving side-to-side less and keeping moving up and down the court to switch the momentum and the movement on the court. He and the rest of the team attribute that in large part to their second-half success.

But more than a change in the structure of the attack, the Hoyas knew things weren’t working and that they had to pick it up on both sides of the court, and it was reflected in their totals, grabbing only six points in the paint in the first half and ending the game with 42.

“We had nine turnovers in the first half. I think that might have lead to what happened in the second half more so than anything,” Thompson III said. “When you score, unfortunately, no matter who the team is, when you’re scoring, the defense gets a lot better. We were able to get some buckets in the second half that we weren’t getting in the first half. And our defense got better.”

“Like Coach said, we picked it up defensively, and I think that turned out better for us offensively,” said Hollis Thompson, the third of the double-digit scorers with 15 points, 10 rebounds. “Having more possessions and playing harder and stuff like that. So when that happened, Henry found me on late cuts and things started to jell.”

In addition to Sims’ contribution in the second half, Thomspon III said the senior center’s communication on the defensive end vastly improved in the latter half.

“Our defense got better in the second half because I think our talking got better. And he was outstanding,” Thompson III said. “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.”

Georgetown plays Memphis Dec. 22 at Verizon Center.

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