Final OT

Cincinnati 71

(13-5, 2-2 Big East)

Xavier 73

(12-2, 3-0 A 10)

9:00 PM ET, January 19, 2006

Cintas Center, Cincinnati, Ohio

1 2 OT T
CIN 37 27 771
XAV 30 34 973

Top Performers

Cincinnati: D. Downey 22 Pts, 5 Reb, 5 Ast, 3 Stl

Xavier: B. Thornton 20 Pts, 12 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Blk

Xavier slips past Cincy in OT as rivalry continues to burn

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Stanley Burrell made one of his two free throws with 3.9 seconds left, and James White missed a leaning jumper from the top of the key as the buzzer sounded Thursday night, letting Xavier hold on for a 73-71 overtime victory over Cincinnati.

The Musketeers (12-2) beat their crosstown rival for the fifth time in the last seven years despite going 1-of-18 from behind the arc and frittering away leads in regulation and overtime with poor free-throw shooting.

Cincinnati coach Andy Kennedy ran onto the floor and berated an official for failing to call a foul on White's final shot, which ended only the fifth overtime game in a rivalry that dates to the 1927 season.

Burrell and Brian Thornton led Xavier with 20 points apiece. Freshman point guard Devan Downey emerged from a four-game shooting slump by leading Cincinnati with 22 points.

For only the second time in the last 10 years, neither team was ranked for the rivalry. Except for the lack of a ranking, this one fit nicely in the rivalry's history -- 13 ties, five lead changes, play stopped in the second half because of blood on a uniform.

It also had a breathtaking finish that fit.

Up by six points with 36 seconds left in regulation, Xavier couldn't close it out. Justin Cage and Thornton missed the front ends of 1-and-1 chances, and Jihad Muhammad made a 3-pointer that sent it to overtime.

The Musketeers also frittered away a 5-point lead in overtime before Burrell one of his two free throws, putting Xavier back on top to stay 72-71 with 14 seconds to go. After Downey missed a jumper, Justin Doellman got the rebound and made a free throw.

It was a disheartening loss for Cincinnati (13-5), which dropped out of the Top 25 with losses to Connecticut and Syracuse -- its first two games without Armein Kirkland. The senior forward tore a knee ligament against Connecticut, leaving the Bearcats without enough players to practice 5-on-5.

By contrast, Xavier has won its last six games, its best streak since the Musketeers' Elite Eight NCAA tournament run in 2004.

It was the first crosstown game since 1989 without Bob Huggins coaching. Huggins and former Musketeer coach Pete Gillen put sizzle in the rivalry after Xavier's 1994 win, exchanging words but refusing to shake hands. Nastiness gave way to upsets later in the '90s, when the Musketeers repeatedly knocked off Huggins' highly ranked Bearcats.

Huggins was ousted last August by Cincinnati president Nancy Zimpher. Xavier students who camped out in tents at the ticket window held up signs thanking Zimpher. One banner suggested: "The Bearcats Need A Hugg."

What Kennedy really needed was a win to give the post-Kirkland Bearcats some confidence. They came up seconds short.

There were six ties and four lead changes before power forward Eric Hicks gave Cincinnati the game's biggest lead. He hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key, had a tip-in in traffic, then wrestled the ball away from two Musketeers for a putback that concluded a 10-2 run and made it 34-25.

Senior guard Dedrick Finn, who counts the crosstown game as his favorite part of Cincinnati, pulled the Musketeers even in the second half by hitting Xavier's only 3-pointer, then getting a steal and fastbreak layup that tied it at 42.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 71 73
FG Made-Attempted 28-75 (.373) 28-68 (.412)
3P Made-Attempted 10-24 (.417) 1-18 (.056)
FT Made-Attempted 5-11 (.455) 16-28 (.571)
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (0/0) 16 (0/0)
Largest Lead 9 6

2005-06 Season

» Jan 19, 2006 @XAV 73, CIN 71Recap