Saturday, December 10, 2011

VIDEO: Xavier-Cincinnati ends in a brawl

Ugly ending to an ugly game.

With 9.4 seconds left on the clock, No. 8 Xavier was up 76-53 on Cincinnati in the Crosstown Shootout. As always, this was an intense game with plenty of squawking going on between the two teams. But Ge'Lawn Guyn got in Tu Holloway's, Dez Wells shoved Guyn and, well, all hell broke loose:

Yancy Gates sucker-punched Kenny Frease, opening up a cut on his cheek. Frease then got the back of his head stomped by Cheikh Mbodj. While all that is happening, Mark Lyons and Dez Wells are throwing haymakers at a couple of Cincinnati players in the corner of the court.

In my opinion, the two players that deserve the most blame for this fight are Wells and Gates. Wells pushing Guyn the way he did sparked it, and Gates firing a chest pass at Wells and then punching Frease escalated what was simply benches clearing into a full-on brawl. There are going to be a lot of suspensions coming out of this game between the punches that were thrown and the players that left the bench. I wouldn't be surprised if there were a couple of arrests that came out of it.

But why are we surprised this happened?

This is one of the most heated rivalries in the country. Every season, when this game is played, there is some pushing and shoving. That's what makes it attending the Crosstown Shootout a college basketball bucket list game. When there is this much emotion involved in a game between two teams as physical as Xavier and Cincinnati are, these things will happen.

Its not pretty, its an embarrassment. Its utterly and completely unacceptable. But it comes with the territory. Its hypocritical for us to hype up how enthralling a rivalry like this -- heated, physical, emotional -- is to watch and then destroy these kids when their emotions bubble over.

That said, there have to be serious ramifications from this fight. There will be quite a few players suspended for a number of games. I wouldn't be surprised, based Mick Cronin's comments after the game, if Yancy Gates was no longer a member of the Cincinnati team. And depending on how many games and how many players are suspended, this could have an exetended negative impact on Xavier's season.

I have a feeling we will be talking about this fight for a long time.

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