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Georgetown 64 Pitt 52.

Box Score

Postgame audio - Coach John Thompson III, Otto Porter & Henry Sims:

Postgame audio - Coach John Thompson III one on one interview:

For whatever reason, a quote from Joe Scott relayed in the upper balcony of Jadwin Gym ages ago has stayed with me all these years.

Players get better from their freshman year to their sophomore year.

They can improve from their sophomore season to when they are juniors.

Once they hit their fourth and final campaign however, they aren’t going to be more than what they already are.

The exception to Scott’s rule may be a late leap by Georgetown center Henry Sims.

Averaging 3.2 points per game three years in, Sims more than tripled his output in 2011-12, putting up 11.1 points along with 5.6 rebounds as an All-Big East third team member.

Sims was downright dominant at times in a Wednesday afternoon Big East Tournament second round matchup versus Pitt with both his scoring and his distributing as the Hoyas were able to build, cultivate and expand a lead that they took for the first time late in the first half on a three point play by freshman Greg Whittington. This was only part of a 16-2 run that closed a frame which ended with Georgetown up by eight as Sims bodied inside for the closing bucket.

Two interior baskets and a jumper by Nasir Robinson drew the Panthers down to within 31-29 but frosh Otto Porter, who scored a career high 20 points on the day, combined with Sims to tally 15 straight as efficient offense and improved backline communication sent Georgetown back up by 13.

Sims concluded with a superb stat line - 20 points, 13 rebounds and five assists.

Unlike with other players he’s coached, Thompson did not see a specific “Lightbulb Moment” during Sims’ progression.

“This summer [Henry] just realized ‘this is my last time around’ and he also realized ‘I haven’t put in as much as I should,’” Hoyas head coach John Thompson III said. “He’s worked extremely hard since then. He’s been extremely committed in ways in which he hasn’t for four years.”

The Hoyas did not have a field goal in the final 6:22, but they didn’t need one, doing all their damage at the line where they were 7-8 as their edge expanded to a game high 19.

All this was accomplished despite Georgetown’s two leading scorers Jason Clark and Hollis Thompson shooting a combined 1-10 from the floor.

Thompson, who when pressed first thought of undersized Princeton center Nate Walton as another player who rose up towards the end of his collegiate career, disagreed with Scott’s statement but did say that “as a coach sometimes we can fall into a rhythm and decide that we shouldn’t expect more.”

Playing in the Big East Tournament with expectations for the first time, Sims more than exceeded them.

Georgetown advances to face fourth seed Cincinnati on Thursday afternoon at 2:00 pm ET, the first meeting between these two teams in the history of the tourney.

larry said,

March 7, 2012 @ 10:32 pm

RE: Joe Scott's quote: Without checking numbers my gut tells me Kareen Maddox was an exception. Hopefully Connolly will be an exception.

Jon Solomon said,

March 7, 2012 @ 10:37 pm

I'd say Maddox's biggest leap came during Ivy play his junior year.

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