No. 24 Cincinnati Beats Crosstown Rival Xavier, 66-46

Jan. 6, 2011


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CINCINNATI (AP) - Yancy Gates scored a season-high 22 points, and 24th-ranked Cincinnati extended the second-best start in school history, beating Xavier 66-46 on Thursday night to win back the city's backyard bragging rights.

Cincinnati's 15-0 start matches the 1998-99 team for second-best in school history.

No matter the circumstance, Xavier (8-5) had managed to get the better of its crosstown rival for years. The Musketeers had won three in a row and eight of 11 in the series, which often gets overheated. Xavier's Terrell "Tu" Holloway got a technical for throwing an elbow Thursday.

None of the Musketeers could stop Gates, a 6-foot-9, 265-pound power forward who scored most of his points on outside jumpers. He went 10 of 16 from the field and had 14 rebounds.

Xavier's only consistent scorer was forward Jamel McLean, who had 18 points. UC held Holloway, the Musketeers' leading scorer at 21.3 points per game, to only five points on 2-of-13 shooting.

The annual game is one of the city's centerpiece sporting events. Baseball hits king Pete Rose — a Cincinnati native — and Pete Rose Jr. sat courtside.

This one meant a lot more to the Bearcats, who had home-court advantage and wore throwback uniforms. The Bearcats moved into the Top 25 for the first time this season this week, and drew their first capacity crowd for the annual grudge match.

Cincinnati produced the most-lopsided win in the series in nine years (75-55 in 2001) and held the Musketeers to 46 points – its lowest scoring in the series since March 9, 1949 (57-46 win for UC).

Xavier quieted the crowd by pulling out to a 10-4 lead, dominating upfront. Seven-foot center Kenny Frease had a jumper and a putback over Gates, who grew up in Cincinnati and appreciates the rivalry's lore.

Gates led the Bearcats back, hitting three jumpers during a 16-4 run that put Cincinnati ahead, pounding his chest after one of them. He also had the most emphatic play, blocking Frease's baseline shot and sending the brawny center sprawling on the floor.

Gates' fast-break layup made it 26-15 with 2:35 left in the half. He had 12 points in the half, making six of his seven shots.

After Xavier got the lead down to five, Gates hit a fadeaway 17-foot jumper that sparked an 11-2 run and pushed the lead to 46-31. Holloway got a technical during the run for throwing an elbow under the basket.

Gates' rebound and putback made it 58-41 with 6 minutes left, taking all the drama out of the final minutes.

Dion Dixon finished with 16 points and nine rebounds while Cashmere Wright scored 10 points and handed out four assists. UC scored 25 points off of 15 Xavier turnovers.

The Bearcats will hit the road for four of their next five games, taking on No. 7/7 Villanova on Sunday, Jan. 9 at Noon.