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Sato adds 18 against cross-town rival

2/4/2004

CINCINNATI (AP) -- No profane taunts, no technical fouls, no
on-court tussles. The city's basketball rivalry was more civil this
time around.

Until Xavier got 'em again, that is.

Lionel Chalmers scored 20 points and hit a fadeaway jumper with
27 seconds left Tuesday night, leading Xavier to a 71-69 victory
over No. 10 Cincinnati.

The Musketeers (11-9) pulled off another stunning upset of their
crosstown rival by getting big games from their two senior guards.

Chalmers repeatedly drove to the basket and made floating
jumpers over the outstretched arms of the Bearcats' brawnier front
line. Romain Sato added 18 points with a game-high 11 rebounds for
the home team.

Cincinnati (15-3) has lost six of its last eight games against
Xavier, which usually plays its best against its crosstown rival.
That eight-year stretch includes two upsets when Cincinnati was
ranked No. 1.

Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins criticized Xavier fans leading up
to the game, and Bearcats players said the game was more important
to the Musketeers -- a way of belittling the small Jesuit school.

Chalmers would have none of it.

"Our fans were amazing," he said. "That had a lot to do with
the win. Those guys talk trash."

After a pause, Chalmers added, "By the way, we've still got the
trophy."

They do, thanks to Chalmers.

He made a 3-pointer that tied it for the third and final time in
the second half. Two minutes later, he stepped back from a
double-team and made an 18-foot jumper for a 70-69 lead with 27
seconds left.

Cincinnati then threw away a chance for the last shot. Nick Williams' crosscourt pass for Armein Kirkland flew over his head
with 4.9 seconds left, Cincinnati's 18th turnover.

Cincinnati initially tried to get the ball inside to Jason Maxiell, who was covered.

"We knew they wanted to go to Maxiell," Xavier forward Anthony Myles said. "I wanted to force him higher, because he's no threat
from the outside. When we did that, they didn't know what to do."

Chalmers was fouled and missed two free throws, but Eric Hicks
knocked the ball out of bounds as he and Sato fought for the
rebound. Sato made one free throw after an intentional foul with
2.2 seconds left, and the game ended with Xavier's inbounds pass
getting swatted around.

Tony Bobbitt scored 17 points for Cincinnati, which has lost
three of its last five games after a 13-0 start.

"We lost our swagger," Hicks said. "We've got to get back to
being ourselves. If we don't play hard and rebound, everybody's
going to beat us."

Xavier's struggles this season -- five losses in its previous six
games -- took some of the luster but none of the emotion out of the
annual rivalry.

Huggins stirred it up the last few days by saying Xavier's fans
in previous years were the most profane he'd ever encountered. Xavier officials apologized for the student section's conduct after that game, but were miffed when Huggins brought it up again this week.

The two school presidents sat together on the Xavier bench
during warmups, chatting and sharing a few laughs. The Rev. Michael
Graham of Xavier then walked to midcourt and asked the crowd of
10,250 to applaud new Cincinnati president Nancy Zimpher.

When Huggins came out to the court for his postgame radio show,
one fan yelled at him, "A bitter pill!" Huggins didn't
acknowledge the comment.

"The crowd was great," Huggins said in a raspy voice. "What
Father (Graham) did was a classy thing. They were terrific. That's
the way it ought to be."

The crowd went silent as the Musketeers fumbled around in the
opening minutes.

Cincinnati abandoned its customary press, wary of Xavier's three
slick guards, and went with a straight man-to-man defense that
locked up the Musketeers' perimeter-oriented offense. Xavier missed
nine consecutive shots while Cincinnati went on a 15-1 run, pulling
ahead 19-8.

Then, it was Xavier's turn.

Chalmers had two of his early shots swatted away, but didn't
back down and led a 23-7 spurt that closed the first half. Chalmers
hit two 3s and made a leaning bank shot at the buzzer, putting
Xavier up 37-32.

Justin Doellman's three-point play opened the second half and
gave Xavier its biggest lead, 40-32.

Cincinnati recovered by hitting its first four 3-point attempts
in the second half. Bobbitt's fastbreak layup and his 3 from the
top of the key gave Cincinnati a 48-44 lead. There were three ties
and six lead changes in the second half.