The Queen City once again belongs to the Cincinnati Bearcats after UC destroyed the Xavier Musketeers 66-46 in the 78th Crosstown Shootout.
Frustrated that he had yet to beat Xavier (8-5) in two previous tries, hometown product Yancy Gates put on a show Thursday night. Gates asserted himself early and often in what was easily his best game as a Bearcat, and one of the best displays of domination in the history of the Shootout. He scored a season-high 22 points and added 14 rebounds, mostly making outside shots mixed in with a few power dunks in the faces of outmatched Xavier forwards.
[Shootout Box Score: Cincinnati 66, Xavier (OH) 46]
"It was quite obvious that Yancy Gates decided it was time to win the crosstown shootout," Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin said. The junior had yet to win as the Muskies had claimed the last three Shootouts.
The 20-point margin was the largest margin of victory for either team since UC beat XU, 75-55 in 2001-02. The Bearcats held the Musketeers to their lowest point total of the season and their lowest score in seven years.
UC (15-0 overall, 2-0 Big East) is off to its best start since the 1998-99 team also won its first 15 games. It is the second best record in the storied history of the Bearcats behind the 1962-1963 team that was National Runner-Up. That team began their season 19-0 and ended up 26-2.
Xavier's only consistent scorer was forward Jamel McLean, who had 18 points. Xavier scored its fewest points in seven years.
Terrell "Tu" Holloway, the Musketeers' leading scorer at 21.3 points per game, managed only five on 2-of-13 shooting. His frustration showed when he threw a punch at the face of UC center Ibrihima Thomas, receiving the game's only technical foul.
Gates had the most emphatic play of the night, blocking 7-foot center Kenny Frease's baseline shot and sending the brawny Muskie sprawling on the floor. His 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.
Gates' rebound and putback made it 58-41 with 6 minutes left, taking all the drama out of the final minutes. When he left the game with 36 seconds left, the fans chanted "Yancy! Yancy!"
"That's always a good feeling," Gates said. "You get a boost when you hear the crowd saying your name. You know you did a good job."
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