American University (7-5) at (22) Georgetown (8-1)

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  • Game info: 1:00 pm EST Sat Dec 29, 2007
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Georgetown didn’t show many weaknesses during its 8-0 start. After losing for the first time this season, however, the Hoyas know that there’s still plenty of room for improvement.

The eighth-ranked Hoyas look to get back on track on Saturday when they host crosstown rival American University.

Georgetown (8-1) won its first eight games of the season by an average of 22.1 points, beating all but one of its opponents by at least 10. Last Saturday, though, it was a different story in a 85-71 loss on the road against No. 2 Memphis.

The Hoyas struggled on the defensive end, allowing more than 60 points in a game for the first time this season. They had held each of their previous opponents to less than 40.0 percent shooting, but allowed the Tigers to shoot 46.0 percent. Georgetown also recorded a season-low 30 rebounds.

Georgetown made just 3-of-14 3-pointers after entering the contest shooting 40.2 percent from 3-point range, including back-to-back games in which it made 11 3s.

“We have a long way to go, and you know I think both ends of the floor to be honest,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. “I felt like our offense let us down a little bit. Our offense led to a lot of their baskets.”

Part of the problem last week stemmed from the ongoing struggles of senior center Roy Hibbert, who was 3-for-8 from the field and had a season-low six points in 27 minutes. It was his third straight game without breaking double figures in scoring.

After averaging 17.0 points and 11.7 shots in the first three games of the season, Hibbert is averaging 9.5 points and 5.7 shots in the last six.

“I need to make myself more assertive,” said Hibbert, a preseason All-American.

Hibbert will try to bounce back against an American team that hasn’t met Georgetown since the Hoyas won 62-59 on Dec. 17, 1986. The Eagles have dropped the last four in the series since their 62-61 victory on Dec. 15, 1982, and 11 of their last 12 meetings.

This year’s Eagles (7-5) might be feeling a little more optimistic about pulling off an upset against the Hoyas after snapping a 14-game losing streak against Maryland with a stunning 67-59 victory last Saturday.

“I’m happy for the players and for our school,” said American coach Jeff Jones, whose team gave up only five baskets in the first half. “We’re getting better, but we can’t be satisfied. I hope they enjoy it and it will build confidence.”

Bryce Simon scored a career-high 17 for the Eagles, whose only previous win against Maryland came during the 1926-27 season.

“Bryce has been coming along,” Jones said. “He liked some of the matchups he was able to get.”

Jones won his only career game against Georgetown while coaching Virginia during the 1991-92 season. The Cavaliers defeated the then-No. 18 Hoyas 76-66 in overtime on Dec. 5, 1991. Jones, though, is 0-5 against ranked teams in his eight seasons with American.

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