Cincinnati and Xavier Brawl in Crosstown Shootout
On this day eight years ago, the Crosstown Shootout made a bang in national headlines.
With the final seconds of the 2011 iteration of one of the most heated rivalries in all of basketball, No. 8 Xavier held a comfortable 76-53 lead at home against its enemy Bearcats. With 9.4 seconds to go, Cincinnati’s Ge’Lawn Guyn and Xavier’s Tu Holloway got in each other’s face, and the rest is history.
Their dispute turned to a couple shoves, then pandemonium. The Cincinnati bench, which was right next to the incident, cleared quickly, and violence ensued. Bearcat Yancy Gates chucked a ball at couple of Musketeers before popping Xavier’s Kenny Frease in his jaw, and a handful of players from both sides aimed to attack one another.
The altercation is the embodiment of the Crosstown Shootout in many ways, for better or for worse, which has always had a gritty, nasty edge to it. But this time, it was too much, and blood was quite literally spilled.
Here are some of the key quotes following the infamous event:
“That’s what you’re going to see from Xavier and Cincinnati,” Holloway said. “We got disrespected a little bit before the game. We’re the tougher team. We’re grown men over here. We got a whole bunch of gangsters in the locker room. Not thugs, but tough guys on the court, and we went out there and zipped them up after the game. That’s how our motto, zip ’em up, and that’s what we just did.”
“(Holloway) said they’re not thugs, he was talking about toughness on the court but he did it in the wrong fashion and that’s why he’s going to sit,” Xavier head coach Chris Mack said. “He didn’t mean that our gang is going to beat up your gang. It was the wrong choice of words and it’s a problem and our fault for putting them up there in the first place. It was 15 minutes after the game and we should have put two other guys up there, not two that were in the middle of it. We all made poor choices and have a lot of regret for it.”
“If somebody puts their hands in your face or tries to do something to you, where we’re from, you’re going to do something back,” Xavier guard Mark Lyons said. “We’re not going to sit there and get our face beat in by someone like Yancy Gates or somebody. We won’t let that happen.”
“If my players don’t act the right way, they will never play another game at Cincinnati,” Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin said. “Right now, I just told my guys, I’m going to meet with my AD and my president, and I’m going to decide who’s on the team going forward. That’s what the University of Cincinnati’s about. Period. I’ve never been this embarrassed. I’m hoping President Williams doesn’t ask me to resign after that. I made everybody take their jersey off, and they will not put it on again until they have a full understanding of where they go to school and what the university stands for and how lucky they are to even be there, let alone have a scholarship, because there’s a whole lot of kids that can’t pay for college. They’re all sitting in there with no jersey on. Some of them, I physically took it off.”
“Whatever road we go down, we have to do a better job of not escalating the rivalry to where there is animosity between the two programs by calling each other out on Twitter or on radio shows,” Mack said. “It should be more of a celebration of two really good programs in the city rather than the Hatfields and the McCoys. It’s up to both our programs, led by me and Mick. That’s what has to happen.”
No charges were filed as a result of the brawl, but several suspensions were handed down. For the Bearcats, Gates, Cheikh Mbodj and Octavius Ellis were held back from participating in six games each, while Guyn was given a one-game ban. For the Musketeers, Dez Wells and Landen Amos were suspended for four contests, respectively, while Lyons and Holloway were made to miss one game.
The Crosstown Shootout was played again the following season, this time under the new name of the Crosstown Classic, in the 80th version of the rivalry. Cincinnati and Xavier last played over the weekend, with the Musketeers winning, 73-66.