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No. 16 Georgetown uses strong second half to down American

Dec 17, 2011 - 11:35 PM Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Markel Starks scored a career-high 18 points and Henry Sims added 17, as 16th-ranked Georgetown pulled away in the second half to earn an 81-55 victory over American at the Verizon Center.

Hollis Thompson contributed 15 points and eight rebounds for the Hoyas (9-1), who have won seven straight since a loss to Kansas in Maui. Georgetown will host Memphis on Thursday before starting Big East play on December 28 at Louisville.

Charles Hinkle scored 16 points and John Schoof chipped in 12 for American (8-4), which has lost two straight on the heels of an eight-game winning streak.

Georgetown struggled through a tight first half and carried a 32-26 edge to the locker room. A bucket by Schoof pulled American within four in the first minute of the second half, but the Hoyas scored the next six points and began to pull away.

Thompson's layup capped the quick surge and gave Georgetown a 38-28 lead, and the Eagles got only as close seven before the Hoyas blew it open. A three- pointer by Hinkle pulled American within 40-33, but Georgetown followed with a 21-6 run and opened a 61-39 cushion with just under nine minutes to play.

"Henry did a good job of finding the guys," Hoyas coach John Thompson III said. "Hollis actually said the cuts were open very late, so when we did cut in the first half we were giving up on it and going outside too soon, but the very first play in the second half we had a cut open right underneath the rim, so I think that communication between teammates was key."

Georgetown shot 67.7 percent in the second half and finished the contest at 58.8 percent from the field. The Hoyas also held a 34-23 rebounding edge.

American built a 10-9 lead eight minutes into the contest before Starks hit consecutive three-pointers to put Georgetown ahead for good. The Eagles were down just one moments later before Thompson scored five straight to give the Hoyas a 20-14 edge.

Blake Jolivette's jumper pulled American within 24-22 with 2 1/2 minutes left in the half, but Georgetown answered with eight of the next 10 points to open a 32-24 advantage. Simon McCormack's tip-in just before the buzzer sent the Eagles to the break down by six.

"Clearly that was two very different halves," American coach Jeff Jones said. "Georgetown came out in the second half and came right at us. We didn't have an answer. They put it inside, they really geared up their defense, and we just weren't very good."

Game Notes

Otto Porter led Georgetown with 10 rebounds and added eight points...Starks hit 4-of-6 from three-point range...Schoof had only two points in the second half...Jolivette finished with 11 points...The Hoyas have won eight straight against their Washington, DC rivals and lead the all-time series, 44-8.