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The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Not a typo: Western Carolina 141, Toccoa Falls 39

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

Each time Western Carolina surpasses 100 points in a home game this season, students can exchange their ticket stubs for free tacos from a Mexican restaurant near campus.

There was probably a line out the door Tuesday night long before the final buzzer.

Western Carolina routed Toccoa Falls 141-39, shattering its school record for most points scored in one game and becoming only the fourth Division I school to win a game by more than 100 points. The Catamounts led 18-0 after 4 1/2 minutes, 72-17 by halftime and 100-26 with more than 11 minutes to play.

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The 102-point margin of victory is a reflection of the vast discrepancy in talent between an average lower-level Division I program like Western Carolina (9-10) and a tiny National Christian College Athletic Association school like Toccoa Falls (3-6). The Catamounts haven't been one of the Southern Conference's stronger programs the past decade, yet they've eclipsed 100 points in five of their six meetings with Toccoa Falls since 2001 and beaten the Georgia school by no less than 58 points in each matchup.

[Related: Is Northwestern's incredible tournament drought about to end?]

A program of Western Carolina's caliber typically plays a lower-level school to get a routine win and collect ticket revenue, but it's certainly fair to question why the Catamounts didn't schedule a Division II or III team which could offer a more competitive game. The risk of injury in a matchup like Tuesday night's far outweighs the benefit of playing the game.

Western Carolina typically plays Toccoa Falls or similar schools in November or December, but assistant athletic director Daniel Hooker said Tuesday night that the Catamounts scheduled this game for this week to avoid a long layoff in the midst of conference play. Without the Toccoa Falls game, Western Carolina would have gone seven days between facing Furman last Saturday and playing rival Appalachian State on Saturday.

Although Western Carolina coach Larry Hunter played no starter more than 18 minutes and all 12 of his players at least 11 minutes against Toccoa Falls, it was not nearly enough to prevent the score from getting out of hand.

[Related: Forde: Too many college basketball coaches are behaving badly]

It wasn't how Hunter coached the game that was the issue. It was the fact that Western Carolina scheduled it at all that should be reevaluated.

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