The West Virginia Mountaineers have now seen firsthand the lofty peaks and low valleys that come with the win-today, lose-tomorrow rollercoaster of Division I basketball. Just two days after upsetting then-No. 2 UCLA on their home floor, the 23rd-ranked ountaineers (19-6, 7-5 Big East) found themselves at the mercy of the surging No. 14 Hoyas (19-5, 9-2) in a 71-53 drubbing that marked their worst loss since a 73-53 pasting by Boston College in 2005. Georgetown played suffocating defense from the opening tip, and double-figures scoring from the talented trio of juniors center Roy Hibbert, forward Jeff Green and point guard Jonathan Wallace punctuated the Mountaineers’ prince-to-pauper plummet in front of a crowd of 14,203 at Verizon Center. ‘That was one impressive Georgetown team tonight,’West Virginia Head Coach John Beilein said. ‘The team is great, the defense is great, but the littlest things that coaches realize that they do so well ” the dribble-drive, they’re under control, they don’t charge, they share the ball. It was a clinic.’Wallace taught the seminar early, sinking a long three and picking Mountaineer sophomore forward Joe Alexander’s pocket for an easy fast-break layup on the next trip down the floor. Freshman DaJuan Summers turned up the defensive heat as well, swatting the shot of sophomore guard Alex Ruoff in the lane, and after 13 minutes, the Mountaineers had only eight points to their name. ‘I think that our defense was very good. A lot of it is, they did get some open looks that they normally make. They just didn’t happen to go in,’Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III said. ‘I thought we did a very good job of contesting their threes. I thought, they are a good shooting team, but they also can drive, they got guys that can get to the basket. Things turned out well for us today.’After picking up two early fouls Wallace made his way to the bench, but his teammates took advantage of his strong start, embarking on a 15-0 run that stretched the early lead to 16. Georgetown shot a stunning 78 percent from the field and won the battle of the boards, outrebounding the Mountaineers 17-7 in the first half. A Green layup off a backdoor cut and a pretty pass from Jessie Sapp, followed by a dead-on three from Summers, kept the Hoya faithful happy. A vigorous slam by Green tacked an exclamation point onto a powerful first half for Hoyas, who jogged confidently into the locker room with a 37-20 lead. Energized by his rest on the bench, Wallace started the second half in much the same fashion he began the first. Wallace dished the rock and played scrappy defense, setting up Summers for an easy three and forcing the Mountaineers into a committing a shot-clock violation. Three minutes into the second half, Wallace got his own rebound and hit a tough layup in the lane over three taller Mountaineer defenders to cap a 7-0 opening run by the Hoyas to start the second frame. The 6-foot-1 point guard, who finished with 14 points and three assists, fed Hibbert in the paint, repeatedly setting him up for easy buckets. West Virginia unleashed an arsenal of defensive tactics against the Georgetown center, but none packed a punch louder than a pop gun. Neither 7-foot junior center Jamie Smalligan nor incessant fouling by the rest of the Mountaineers could stop Hibbert, who finished with 20 points and six rebounds on the night. The hack-a-Hibbert strategy repeatedly sent the big man to the charity stripe, where he shot 12-of-13, and gave way to an aggressive battle below that boiled over into a shouting match between players and caused officials into stop-game action to calm nerves and a technical foul on Georgetown junior forward Patrick Ewing Jr. with a little over 15 minutes to play. During the officials’ time out, the war of words raged in the stands, as the West Virginia faithful, who made the quick trip from Morgantown in hordes, challenged the Georgetown student section to a less-than-friendly cheering contest. It was a last-gasp effort for the Mountaineers, who seemed to be delaying the inevitable. Wallace sank a three from the corner with nine minutes left to stretch the lead to 23, and a three-point play from Hibbert on the following possession put the game out of reach. The relentless Georgetown defense made it all but impossible for the Mountaineers to stage a comeback. ‘They’re like a great basketball team ” they’re strong up the middle,’Beilein said. ‘Wallace is so underrated, he’s such a great player. Green is as good a player as there is in the league at the three-man and then you’ve got Hibbert.’Thompson emptied his bench soon thereafter, but even with Wallace, Green and Hibbert resting, the show went on for the Hoyas, as freshman Jeremiah Rivers hit classmate Vernon Macklin for a graceful lay-in with less than a minute remaining. Both Alexander and junior guard Darris Nichols finished with 10 points to lead West Virginia’s anemic offensive effort. Though he now finds himself at the helm of the first Georgetown team to reel off eight straight Big East wins since the 1988-89 squad, Thompson wasn’t about to start predicting greatness. ‘We can still get better,’Thompson said. ‘We still have very tough games against very tough games coming up here, so its not time to sit back and say, ‘Oooh, life is good,’ because life may be awful in a couple of days if we don’t take care of business.’The Hoyas return to action Saturday at noon at Villanova (17-7, 5-5).

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