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WASHINGTON (AP) — Playing at home for the last time, Jason Clark and Henry Sims combined for 25 points, 12 rebounds and six assists on “Senior Day,” helping No. 11 Georgetown beat No. 20 Notre Dame 59-41 on Monday night in a key game for Big East tournament seeding.
Clark finished with 13 points and six rebounds, while Sims had 12 points and five assists. While they have led the way all season for Georgetown (22-6, 12-5) on a roster with 10 freshmen and sophomores, there was plenty of help from the youngsters, as usual.
Greg Whittington contributed 15 points on 5-for-6 shooting, including 3 of 3 on 3-pointers, and another freshman, Otto Porter, had 10 rebounds.
Notre Dame (20-10, 12-5) lost its second straight following a school-record, nine-game Big East winning streak. It made 3 of 17 3-point attempts, after going 4 for 31 in a loss at St. John’s on Saturday.
The Irish shot only 33 percent from the field overall, and no one scored more than the nine points from Eric Atkins and Scott Martin.
Georgetown led by 10 points at halftime and kept pulling away. Wittington’s 3 with about 8½ minutes left capped a 9-0 run that made it 48-29 and pretty much sealed the victory.
Clark and Sims left to a standing ovation with 1:43 remaining and Georgetown leading 59-36.
Both the Hoyas and Fighting Irish are in the running for a top-four seeding and a double-bye into the quarterfinals of the conference tournament. Georgetown finishes its pre-tournament schedule by playing at No. 8 Marquette on Saturday, while Notre Dame closes at home against Providence on Friday.
After the traditional pregame ceremony to honor Georgetown’s departing players, Clark and Sims, they led the way, helping the Hoyas snap a three-game losing streak to the Irish.
After a decent start, both teams had plenty of trouble at the offensive end during the first half, a result not so much of tremendous defense but rather lackluster offense. Air balls, dropped passes and sloppy dribbling all led to wasted possessions.
Georgetown and Notre Dame combined to make 8 of their first 12 shots — a 67 percent clip. And then they went and made 3 of their next 16 shots — only 19 percent.
But a 7-0 stretch capped by Sims’ layup made it 18-11 for the hosts. And that basket began a personal run for Sims in which he scored or assisted on 10 straight Hoyas points.
He made two free throws, passed to Clark on a backdoor cut for a layup, executed a perfect give-and-go to assist on Wittington’s dunk, and sank a turnaround jumper to put Georgetown up 26-18.
When Clark drove for a basket as the shot clock expired, the lead was 28-18 with 1½ minutes left in the first half, and that’s where it remained until the start of the second.
Notre Dame was 1 for 6 on 3s in the half, and leading scorer Jerian Grant was 1 for 8 from the field. Those numbers continued trends from the team’s loss Saturday, when Grant managed to collect only two points while shooting 1 for 9. He wound up 2 for 12 with eight points Monday.
Georgetown can, of course, play defense rather well. In its previous outing, at home on Saturday, Georgetown held Villanova to 28 percent shooting and won by 21 points.
For the second consecutive game, Porter was in Georgetown’s starting lineup — and sophomore guard Markel Starks was not, apparently having found his way into the doghouse of coach John Thompson III. On Saturday, Starks didn’t play at all, even though Thompson said the player was healthy. On Monday, Starks entered about 5 minutes into the game.
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