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Clark and Sims Close Out Four-Year Hoya Career With Big Win
On Senior Day, it was a freshman who took the torch passed by the two upperclassmen and ran it to a career-high 14 points for the 59-41 win against Notre Dame in the Hoyas’ last home game of the season.
Though not to underestimate the production of seniors Jason Clark and Henry Sims, Greg Whittington — racking up his 14 on 5-of-6 from the field, 3-for-3 from three and 2-for-2 on free throws — attributed his shooting success to the production and assistance of Sims.
The two paired up for a number of points, particularly one with three and a half minutes left in the first half where Whittington passed inside to Sims, then drove through a hole, grabbing a backward bounce pass from Sims along the way for the dunk and the 24-16 lead. Sims had a hand in almost every consecutive play, including that one, in the last seven minutes of the half.
“My performance is based on teammates,” Sims said. “I pass them the ball, but they got to catch it and they got to finish it so my performance is based on how they play.”
Following an emotional pregame ceremony, a focused Clark set the tone that led to a solid Hoya defensive outing for the second game in a row, holding the Fighting Irish to 3-of-17 from three, an area where Notre Dame typically puts its money on and thrives.
“We’re going to have to make some more threes and we didn’t shoot it very well on this road trip,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said of the team’s past two games against Georgetown and St. John’s.
Brey said Georgetown “might be the best defensive team we’ve played against this season,” evident by the solid guard play of Notre Dame leading big man Jack Cooley by Sims, holding him to only one field goal and no rebounds.
“For him to play 25 minutes and not get a rebound is staggering because that’s the one thing he can do,” Brey said. “He might not score all the time but the guy gets his hand, I thought he was just a step slow.”
“Henry’s going to sleep well tonight,” coach John Thompson III said. “You guard him, you’re tired.”
Georgetown didn’t get the momentum going in their favor until Markel Starks scored at 8:51 in the first half to give them a lead they would not relinquish. They were neck-and-neck with the Fighting Irish to start and both teams remained scoreless for 5:09 before Starks’ layup.
In a game with three players in double figures, three players with six rebounds each (Clark, Sims and Hollis Thompson) and Otto Porter’s 10 boards, it was the defense that stole the show.
I thought our defense was very good today,” Thompson III, who, not too long ago, was lamenting a poor defensive outing at Seton Hall, said. “I thought our guys were pretty attentive. Our closeouts were good and then we did a good job of protecting the three-point line, but not staying spread out so penetration they could just make a quick pass.”
Clark said it was the “tough loss, an embarrassing loss” that led the Hoyas to bump up their defensive intensity. He said it was especially nice to play so well and win on such a special night.
“[Henry and I] both, we talked about it before, we wanted to leave with a bang so we didn’t want to go out with a loss. We wanted to do our best on the court for our team to win,” Clark said.
“Four years goes by fast,” Thompson III said. “These guys in a couple months they’re going to graduate. Both of these guys, I think, are going to be playing basketball for a very long time. This is the last time they get a chance to do it in this building, wearing Georgetown. It’s a special day for them. I remember my last home game. Many moons ago, but I remember it very well, and I’m sure they will remember for the rest of their lives.”