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WASHINGTON – The boxscore says American committed only seven turnovers against No. 15 Georgetown, including just one after halftime.
That's where the numbers can be deceiving. Knowing they needed to play a near-perfect game to have a chance, the Eagles shot poorly and made untimely mistakes in Saturday's 65-48 loss to their D.C. neighbors.
"Nobody's going to be perfect, and sometimes you make mistakes," American coach Jeff Jones said. "But at least three of the six (turnovers) in the first half were just kind of careless, and there was no reason to even attempt the play — and it resulted in quick points by Georgetown."
Daniel Munoz scored 15 points to lead the Eagles (4-8), who stayed close early with 3-pointers but shot only 29 percent from the field. It was the first half of a tough but money-making stretch for Jones' team — a visit to No. 9 Kansas is on tap next Saturday.
"The odds are against the little guy that's playing the guarantee game," the coach said.
Otto Porter had 16 points and 13 rebounds, and Greg Whittington added 13 points for the Hoyas (10-1), who took advantage of the inevitable talent gap between schools from the Big East and Patriot League. Georgetown has a nine-game winning streak over American, its last defeat coming 30 years ago when Patrick Ewing and Co. lost by one point in what still stands as the biggest intra-city upset in the nation's capital.
These days, it would be a stretch to say the teams are rivals — the atmosphere at the Verizon Center was relaxed, especially with the cheerleaders, band and many other students away for Christmas — and the bigger conversations surrounding Georgetown center on its decision a week ago to join a group of schools that will break away from the Big East, perhaps taking the name with them.
The Hoyas have won seven straight overall, although a couple of the games were almost painful to watch, since losing in overtime to then-No. 1 Indiana. Georgetown now gets a two-week break before opening conference play on Jan. 5 at Marquette.
"Is it a 10-1 I'm happy with? As opposed to a 10-1 I'm not happy with?" Georgetown coach John Thompson III said with a chuckle. "I'm happy with where we are. ... Now, none of us in that locker room are sitting there with our heads in the sand saying we're playing perfect basketball, and we all realize that there's so many areas we can get better at."
Thompson added: "You'd never ask a coach if that's flipped — 1-10 — 'Are you happy with that?'"
Three first-half plays by the Hoyas' defense defined the game as well as any: Porter made a nice linebacker-like interception at midcourt and was fouled taking the ball to the basket, Whittington pulled off a backcourt steal and drew a blocking foul on the way to the hoop for a three-point play, and Jabril Trawick had a steal in the frontcourt and fed Porter for a fast-break layup.
"As hot as they were in that first half," Jones said, "we didn't need to be giving them anything easy."
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