Making Sense of the Xavier-Cincinnati Brawl in the Crosstown Shootout

George PeckContributor IIDecember 10, 2011

CLEVELAND, OH - MARCH 18: Tu Holloway #52 of the Xavier Musketeers walks to the bench late in the second half against the Marquette Golden Eagles during the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Quicken Loans Arena on March 18, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Xavier, a Top 10 team, outplayed Cincinnati in the annual Crosstown Shootout. With the victory the Musketeers remain undefeated. However, that story is now overshadowed by what transpired with less than 10 seconds remaining in the game.

Xavier’s senior point guard Tu Holloway began talking trash to Cincinnati freshman Ge’Lawn Guyn and the Bearcat bench. Musketeer freshman Dez Wells came over and shoved Guyn off Holloway towards the Bearcats bench.

Soon after, it was chaos. Both benches had cleared, and coaches were trying to hold players back. Xavier center Kenny Frease was crawling away from the madness, his face bloodied after taking a sucker punch from the Bearcats' Yancy Gates. Gates certainly wasn't the only one who threw a punch, but his actually connected.

After falling to the ground, Cincinnati freshman Cheikh Mbodj stomped on Frease. The teams were separated, and the game was called.

You can watch the video and decide for yourself: who started it, whose fault it is and all that nonsense. The bottom line is it was unacceptable.

This did not come out of the blue. Many people outside of Cincinnati do not realize how big of a deal the Crosstown Shootout is. This is one of the biggest rivalries in college basketball, no questions asked. These two teams hate each other.

It did not help that, in the build-up to the big game, Cincinnati guard Sean Kilpatrick said in a radio interview that Tu Holloway would not even start for the Bearcats.

This statement is completely absurd, as Holloway would start for any team in the country, but that is beside the point. Holloway of course felt disrespected, and decided to let the Bearcats bench hear what he had to say about it.

The annual rivalry means everything to the respective schools and the city of Cincinnati. The campuses are located within 10 miles of each other.

In every Crosstown Shootout, you see your fair share of trash talk, pushing and even some technical fouls. Things never escalate to the extent that they did today.

The players will soon learn the hard way that fighting is not worth it. Suspensions are coming for players on both teams—namely Yancy Gates, Cheikh Mbodj, Mark Lyons and Dez Wells.

There is no place for fighting in the game of basketball. Many have began to question if the Crosstown Shootout game should even be played anymore after something like this, and I cannot blame them.

It really is a shame because this game brings so much excitement to Cincinnati. The Crosstown Shootout has a great tradition. I can only hope this rivalry will not forever be tarnished by today’s events.