Georgetown Coach John Thompson had to spend most of Wednesday night's postgame news conference talking. Not about his team's 69-66 loss to St. John's -- which gave the Hoyas their highest number of conference losses since the Big East began -- but about the conference's new rules regarding fighting.

Thompson says those rules, which call for suspensions of players and coaches (excluding the head coach) who come on the floor during fights, and for the suspension of players (with Commissioner Dave Gavitt's approval) ejected for fighting, are fine with him.

"What the league did is good for everybody involved," he said. "I don't have any reservations whatsoever, as long as Dave is involved. Rules are fine. Capital punishment is something I'm for, too, if people are judging it fairly. Dave, I think, is somebody who will look at it."

Thompson acknowledged that his team, which is 7-7 and fifth in the conference, is a team with limits, but that he hasn't given up on the year.

"I think they've played very hard," Thompson said. "I think we've gotten as much out of this group as we can get . . . but we've got a little time left. We've had some good wins against some good teams. They're a good bunch of kids, and they've worked very hard."

Thompson said he had a certain amount of responsibility, and that he "wasn't trying to say we're without sin." But he went on say that others, including the media, must share it.

"The coach does have a responsibility," he said. "I can't deny that. But if the coach has that much control over a kid, you'd prevent him from doing much more significant things than fighting . . . But you try.

"I don't want those things to happen. If you train a kid, I must be good at teaching them to fight, because when those kids graduate, you don't know of one Georgetown kid that got in trouble. Name one. Any kind of trouble. Even Michael Graham, who's supposed to be a failure. Has he robbed anyone? Has he hit anyone?

"If you feel that I'm advocating that {fighting}, then I think the league rules should be stronger, and I should be suspended. And I'd support that wholeheartedly. But that is never anything that has been advocated at Georgetown University."

Forward Perry McDonald, who was in the Saturday fight with Pittsburgh that led the league to adopt the new rules, also was supportive.

"I think the new rule is a good rule," he said. "Coach Thompson has told us he doesn't want any more fighting."

Thompson was asked about the Hoyas being centrally responsible for the rash of fights that have plagued the league after a relatively quiet two-year period without any brawls.

"With that rationale," he said, "where we're always at fault, there are then a lot of things in history where only one group of people were involved, and we could look at only one thing. You've got to tell the whole truth. You can't take a part of something. And it's not something where you're trying to blame somebody. I'm not interested in saying that somebody from Pittsburgh caused it. It's bad. It's bad that it happened."