It has been a difficult start to the season for the American men's basketball team. Jeff Jones' crew knew it would be a struggle with just four home games before New Year's Day and road contests scheduled against Minnesota, Kansas and Georgetown among others.

But Saturday's game against the No. 15 Hoyas was at least a benchmark for the Eagles, who hung tough in the first half before succumbing 65-48. Playing a local rival had extra meaning for a team that is 4-8 and just trying to prepare for Patriot League play next month. It was the fifth time in six years that American had played Georgetown. It had previously played an annual game with Maryland from 2003 to 2008 and even beat the Terrapins in 2007.

"It's big for our program. When Gary Williams was at Maryland, he was gracious enough to play us nine or 10 times, and that was a great experience for our kids, and [Georgetown coach John Thompson] has done likewise," Jones said. "Our kids play against Georgetown players [in summer leagues], so I think they get excited, and I think it's a positive."

- Brian McNally