CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19/AP) - In a Crosstown blowout, number 8 Xavier pounded UC, 76-53. The game ended with 9.4 seconds left, when both benches cleared. Xavier center Kenny Frease walked off the court with a bloody eye. Coaches from both teams had to pull their players away.
Mark Lyons led the Muskies with 19 points. Yancy Gates led UC with 18 points and 13 rebounds.
The Musketeers (8-0) extended their best start in three years and their recent domination of the Bearcats (5-3). Cincinnati went 1 of 16 from behind the arc and trailed by double digits the entire second half.
Xavier has won four of the last five, seven of the last 10, and nine of the last 13 games in the city's annual bragging-rights game.
Last season, Cincinnati took advantage of Xavier's injury-depleted roster in a 66-46 victory on the Bearcats' court, the most lopsided score in the series in eight years. Cincinnati geared its defense to stop Holloway, who was only 2 of 13 from the field for five points.
This would be Holloway's last crosstown shootout, and he was determined to prevent Cincinnati from getting its first back-to-back wins in the series since 1995-96.
When the national anthem ended and both teams headed toward their benches, Holloway lingered on the court by himself for a few seconds, head down, eyes closed and soaking in the moment.
He was in the middle of the trash talking at the end, yelling something at the Cincinnati bench before the brawl broke out. After the game was called, he jumped on the scorers' table and celebrated with the crowd.
During the week, Cincinnati's Sean Kilpatrick suggested Holloway wouldn't start if he played for the Bearcats. Whenever Kilpatrick touched the ball, the Xavier student section chanted: "Who's Kilpatrick?"
Kilpatrick finished with 11 points on 3-of-12 shooting.
Xavier was coming off a 73-61 win at Butler on Wednesday night that extended their best start in three seasons. The Bearcats had the week off for exams, giving them time to prepare for the game.
Playing an eighth-ranked team gave the Bearcats a chance to regain some luster. They reached the NCAA tournament last season for the first time since 2005, when Bob Huggins was coach. They considered their program's rebuilding nearly finished, needing only another successful season to re-establish their national prominence. They got off to a good start, getting ranked in the preseason poll for the first time in eight years.
Then home-court losses to Presbyterian and Marshall in front of small crowds knocked them out of the rankings and raised questions about whether they're capable of an encore.
The start of the game followed the annual pattern - a lot of emotion, a lot of missed shots. Xavier coach Chris Mack got a technical for jumping in the air and arguing against a goal tending call on the Musketeers.
There were eight ties and six lead changes, with neither team ahead by more than four, before Holloway got Xavier rolling. He hit a 3 - his first field goal - to start a 12-point run late in the half. Holloway also came down with a rebound and passed to Lyons for a fastbreak layup during the spurt, which put Xavier in control for good at 34-23.
Holloway had a three-point play during a 9-2 run that opened the second half and made it 43-27. Cincinnati didn't get the lead under 10 points the rest of the way. Justin Martin's 3 made it 56-38 with 9:19 to go, taking the drama out of the game. Until the final seconds.
Xavier University President Michael J Graham released a statement about Saturday's game, saying:
"Xavier University takes very seriously the unsportsmanlike events which occurred at the close of today's Crosstown Shootout. This behavior was not representative of Xavier's standards and has no place in intercollegiate athletics. Our basketball program is expected to, and has for so many years now, represented the highest ideals of sportsmanship and ethical conduct. We are reviewing the incident in its entirety and, in conjunction with the Atlantic 10 Conference, will take appropriate action. We regret that this incident happened and apologize to our loyal fans, the Xavier family and the entire Cincinnati community."
University of Cincinnati President Dr. Gregory H. Williams also released a statement, saying:
"I'm extremely disappointed with what happened at the end of today's Crosstown Shootout. I am reviewing this situation with (athletic director) Whit Babcock and (UC men's basketball head coach) Mick Cronin and we are working to ensure this will never happen again. I appreciate Coach Cronin's strong post-game comments and I want to support his position that this behavior is not what we expect of representatives of the University of Cincinnati. We will thoroughly investigate this incident and will act swiftly and firmly. We hold our student-athletes to a high standard and this behavior will not be tolerated."