Xavier reclaims bragging rights in Crosstown Shootout, beats Cincinnati 89-76
Shannon Russell | WCPO contributor , Joe Kay | Associated Press
2:13 PM, Dec 2, 2017
3:11 PM, Dec 2, 2017
CINCINNATI -- The Xavier Musketeers reclaimed bragging rights in the Crosstown Shootout, beating rival University of Cincinnati 89-76 before 10,817 fans Saturday at Cintas Center. It was their eighth victory in the last 11 games of the series.
The Bearcats' loss spoils their perfect start: Cincinnati, No. 11, and Xavier, No. 21, are both now 7-1.
There were three technical fouls and animosity at the end. Some kind of skirmish broke out after the game between Xavier guard J.P. Macura and Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin. Officials and coaches were pulling Cronin off the court.
Uh, what just happened? It looked like Mick Cronin was trying to fight J.P. Macura. WHAT.
The Musketeers (7-1) led by 17 midway through the first half by dominating every aspect. They pushed the lead to 23 in the second half. Cincinnati's Jacob Evans III hit four straight shots that cut it to 80-72 with 1:26 to go, but Bluiett hit a pair of free throws that put it away. Evans had a team-high 23 points.
The Bearcats (7-1) hadn't faced a ranked team all season, and they came apart against Xavier's man-to-man defense and patient offense. They haven't won at Xavier since 2001, when Bob Huggins was the coach. They've dropped seven straight at the Cintas Center.
Trevon Bluiett led Xavier with 28 points, Kerem Kanter scored 17, Kaiser Gates added 10 and Quentin Goodin scored 10 points with 8 assists. Blueitt had 40 points last season in Cincinnati's home-court win. He put his imprint on the game with an early 3-pointer and finished it with free throws.
Jacob Evans led UC with 23 points, 17 in the second half alone. Cane Broome (16 points), Jarron Cumberland (15) and Gary Clark (14) chipped in.
Cincinnati hadn't faced a quality opponent, so the rivalry game was the first chance for Cronin to get a read on his team's weaknesses. The Musketeers exposed them in the first half while pulling out to a 17-point lead, taking Cincinnati's top scorers out of the game.
Xavier lost last season's rivalry game because it didn't box out, allowing Cincinnati to get 19 offensive rebounds and 30 second-chance points. The Musketeers dominated this one even though top rebounder Tyrique Jones missed most of the second half after going to the locker room. Xavier finished with a 45-27 edge in rebounds.
Cronin, Cincinnati's Trevor Moore and Xavier's J.P. Macura got technical fouls late in the first half.
Cincinnati has a week off. The Bearcats play No. 6 Florida next Saturday in the Never Forget Tribute Classic at the Prudential Center.
Xavier hosts Kent State on Wednesday. The Musketeers have won seven straight and are 13-4 all-time against the Golden Flashes.