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It all looked and felt too familar

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If you're a UC basketball fan, you've experienced plenty of moments like tonight, when West Virginia stunned the Bearcats 54-51 at the buzzer in the Big East Championship quarterfinals.

Two memories come to mind immediately:

1. Charles Williams losing the ball out of bounds, setting up Xavier's upset when UC was No. 1 in November 1996.

2. West Virginia hitting a halfcourt shot to knock the Bearcats out of the 1998 NCAA Tournament.

UC was a No. 2 seed that year and beat Northern Arizona in the first round of the NCAA. Bob Huggins was coaching against his alma mater and against former Cincinnati coach Gale Catlett,

The Bearcats were ahead 74-72 with 7.1 seconds left, West Virginia's Jarrod West took the inbounds pass, dribbled to halfcourt and fired away. UC's Ruben Patterson tipped the ball with his middle finger. The ball went right in for a Mountaineers upset. Certainly the stakes were higher that night; UC would've advanced to the Sweet 16.

Now, back to Williams. (Dion Dixon played his role tonight, losing the ball out of bounds in the final seconds to give the Mountaineers the chance to win)

It was Nov. 26, 1996, and the Crosstown Shootout was at Shoemaker Center. The Bearcats were the top-ranked team in the country and a 171/2-point favorite against Xavier.

The game was a classic Shootout that came down to the end. James Posey's basket off an inbounds play with 6.7 seconds remaining tied it 69-69. Williams was running up the court with the ball, then dribbled it off his foot. It went out of bounds to Xavier.

You know the rest: XU guard Lenny Brown nailed a jumper at the buzzer for a 71-69 Musketeers victory.

Well, tonight UC fans got to add another gut-wrenching moment to the vault.

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