Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Hoyas Roll Over Appalachian State

No. 9 Georgetown (9-1) returned to its winning ways on Sunday, easily dispatching Appalachian State (3-4) 89-60 at the Verizon Center before almost 9,000 attendees.

Led by senior guard Chris Wright’s 12 assists – his third game this year with double-digit dimes – the Hoyas jumped out to an early lead on the Mountaineers. A three by sophomore forward Hollis Thompson with 7:21 left in the first half brought the lead to 17 and threatened to turn the game into a laugher even before the teams reached the intermission. The visitors, though, rallied in the last seven-plus minutes of the half, tightening up defensively, and a layup by Donald Sims with four seconds left in the half cut the lead to nine and sent the visibly frustrated Hoyas trudging back to the locker room.

The Blue and Gray came out with renewed energy in the second half, particularly on the defensive end. The Mountaineer offense that looked like it had been getting in gear towards the end of the first half could not get back on track, as the Hoyas held the Mountaineers, led by Sims, the nation’s second-leading scorer, to just six points in the first nine minutes of the half. Georgetown built a comfortable 20-point lead by the time the visitors scored their 10th point of the half, nearly 11 minutes after it started.

“We felt good about ourselves going into halftime, down nine points in an adverse environment,” Appalachian State Head Coach Jason Capel said after the game. “We wanted to come out with a sense of urgency and play hard … [but] unfortunately I didn’t think we came out with that aggression and sense of urgency the way we needed to.”

Overall, the Hoyas shot a scintillating 72.4 percent from the field in the second half, slashing to the bucket for easy layups and dunks, highlighted by two jams from freshman Nate Lubick and one emphatic dunk from senior guard Austin Freeman. Wright’s 12 assists tied the career high he set earlier this year against Coastal Carolina, and the rest of the team took their cue from the senior point guard, dishing out 15 assists of their own en route to Georgetown’s best passing performance of the year.

“Those passes that you think won’t get to you, Chris has the ability to get [to] you,” junior guard Jason Clark said. “If we all keep our eyes on him and the ball, he will find us.”

“It all starts with Chris Wright,” Capel said. “He’s the head of the snake. He came out and really set [the] tone of the game without really scoring the basketball.”

Although Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III praised his team’s defensive effort as a whole, it was Clark who did much of the heavy lifting on that end of the court as he was tasked with shadowing the ever-dangerous Sims, who came into the game averaging over 27 points per game.

“Watching him on tape, we knew that we had to be aggressive with him and couldn’t let him get his shots off,” Clark said of Sims. “We had to come to him and bring the defense to him. … Being aggressive with him really helped us.”

The Mountaineers were unable to keep the game competitive late in the second half. Thompson, who was serenaded with chants to play the newly reinstated freshman Moses Ayegba throughout the game, began emptying his bench with about two minutes left, and the last few minutes proved to be well worth the price of admission.

Ayegba scored on the first offensive possession, drawing a huge cheer from the crowd and then canned two free throws after his classmate Aaron Bowen made some noise of his own with an emphatic dunk. Then with less than a second left, senior tri-captain Ryan Dougherty’s finger roll dropped through the twine to make it 89-60.

The Hoyas return to action in six days when they play hosts to Loyola (Md.) on Saturday at the Verizon Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 12 noon.

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