Sport: A Banner Year for Meanness

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The banging in the Big East, a four-year-old conference with five teams ranked among the country's top 20, has been almost as loud as the signs, and nearly as ugly at times. Both Georgetown-St. John's games this year have featured fistfights, and Madison Square Garden is in a tingle for the Big East tournament this week. Georgetown's record is 9 and 5 in the conference (19 and 8 overall). Two graduated guards have been missed this season: opponents have been able to concentrate on Ewing and bang on him. "Our games are not for the faint of heart, that's for sure," says Commissioner Dave Gavitt, who disputes "the chatter about violence in the Big East." As for the banners, he has directed administrators to be quick in getting them down. At his angriest, Thompson says, "First a sign, then a banana, then a rock, .then a riot." But then quietly he adds, "There is learning in negatives too." Ewing is certainly getting an education.

— By Tom Callahan

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