Big East news eclipses West Carolina loss to Hoyas

It wouldn’t have been the best day for Western Carolina to end

is 0-for-forever streak against Top 25 teams.

Even if the Catamounts had pulled off the stunner over No. 15

Georgetown, it would have been eclipsed by more earthshaking news –

the confirmation that the Hoyas and six other schools were breaking

away from the rest of the Big East.

As it was, Western Carolina (4-7) was able to keep pace for most

of the first half in an 81-68 defeat, making the Catamounts 0-38

against teams ranked in the AP poll.

It was the latest in a series of tough nonconference road games

designed to bring in cash to Western Carolina’s athletic

department. The Catamounts played Top 25 Illinois tough this month

before falling 72-64.

”I’ve got to bring in a pretty good hunk of change every

year,” Coach Larry Hunter said, ”to help our entire program. …

We haven’t won any of them yet, but we’ve competed pretty well.

We’re getting better.”

Hunter sat two regular contributors – Trey Sumler and Brandon

Boggs – for the first half for missing a video session Friday

night. Tom Tankelewicz made six 3-pointers and scored a career-high

24 points to lead the Catamounts, whose outside shooting kept the

game close until Georgetown’s 13-3 run to end first half.

Greg Whittington scored a career-high 25 points for the Hoyas.

Jabril Trawick added a career-high 14, and Otto Porter had 12.

Afterward, all the talk revolved about the future of the Big

East and big-time college basketball in general. Such issues

overshadowed anything Hunter or Georgetown coach John Thompson III

had to say about the game.

”Georgetown was an outstanding program before the Big East,

we’ve been an outstanding program during our time in the Big East,

and we’re going to be an outstanding program with whatever tomorrow

holds,” Thompson said. ”The stability is up on the Hilltop, the

stability is within our institution, and whoever wants to be with

us can be with us.”

Known first and foremost as a basketball school – Georgetown’s

football team plays before small crowds on its Hilltop campus and

will remain in the Patriot League – the Hoyas were anxious to

separate themselves from a conference that gone to geographic

extremes to attract schools such as Boise State and San Diego State

to stay relevant in big-time gridiron.

”In terms of our model for intercollegiate athletics, our broad

base model that’s basketball-centric, that’s something that’s

important to us,” Reed said. ”That has defined us for well over a

generation. We’re committed to doing that. We’re committed to

pursuing that and think this new structure provides the best

opportunity right now moving forward to do that.”

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