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Xavier beats Cincy, but game ends in brawl

Dec 10, 2011 - 10:43 PM Cincinnati, OH (Sports Network) - No. 8 Xavier pulled away to beat crosstown rival Cincinnati, 76-53, on Saturday in a game that was marred by an on-court brawl in the final seconds.

The benches-clearing melee erupted with under 10 seconds remaining, forcing officials to end the game early.

It started after Xavier's Dezmine Wells shoved Cincinnati's Ge'Lawn Guyn as the Bearcats freshman jawed with Xavier guard Tu Holloway near one of the baskets.

Players came together in a scrum after that as officials and coaches tried to separate them.

Replays showed Cincinnati forward Yancy Gates connecting on a punch to the face of Xavier center Kenny Frease, who dropped to the ground. The blow opened a cut over Frease's left eye.

"You seen the score?" said Xavier guard Mark Lyons, who had a game-high 19 points. "Of course they're gong to try to get some retaliation."

Holloway scored 17 with six assists for Xavier (8-0), which has won eight in a row to open a season for the first time since a nine-game streak in 2008-09.

Gates posted a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Bearcats (5-3), who had won their last five road games dating back to last season.

Xavier head coach Chris Mack, who has been friends with Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin since fifth grade, said he was disappointed in the way both teams conducted themselves.

"The crime of it is that for the first 39 and a half minutes, that was one of the cleaner Crosstown Shootouts," said Mack.

Talking about the fight and what led up to it, Cronin said he saw Xavier players talking to his bench, including the assistant coaches. He said he "repeatedly asked the referees to stop it."

Cronin tried to call a timeout to stop what he knew was coming.

"All these kids need to know they're here to get an education at two great universities. They need to appreciate that. They need to learn how to act," the coach said. "It's a prime example of guys thinking they're too important. Xavier's been a great school for years, and we're trying to cure cancer at my university.

"I've never been this embarrassed," Cronin continued. "We represent an institution of higher learning. I made everyone (on our team) take their jersey off."

Trailing 23-22 with under six minutes to play in the first half, Holloway drained a three-pointer to ignite a 12-0 Xavier run. The Musketeers led 34-25 at halftime and the advantage grew to 16 at 43-27 early in the second half when Frease tipped in a Lyons miss.

Cincinnati closed to within 10 points, but Justin Martin knocked down a trey to put Xavier up 56-38 with 9:20 left. The Bearcats never got closer than 14 points the rest of the way.

"[The brawl] takes away from what we did today on the court," said Holloway. "I feel bad about the way it ended."

Game Notes

Xavier has won 44 of 45 at home, including 14 straight...Frease had 13 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks...Dion Dixon scored 14 points for Cincinnati...The Bearcats haven't posted a road victory against a top-10 opponent since besting then-No. 8 Louisville, 71-66, on January 4, 1990.