Their basketball arenas are only separated by a 3.9 mile stretch of road through Cincinnati, but their long-lived rivalry makes UC and Xavier seem states apart. After a fist-throwing feud last year, the teams took the heated rivalry to neutral ground; downtown to the US Bank Arena and gave the annual matchup a new name, the Crosstown Classic.
All of the shiny new traditions, though, weren’t enough to keep this rivalry at bay. Fans for both teams packed the arena and the Cincinnati Civil War was officially on when the Bearcats and Musketeers tipped off on Wednesday night. The Bearcats came into the game undefeated and ranked No. 11 in the nation, while the Musketeers were 7-2 on the season and have a first year player in Semaj Christon that people around the program cannot stop talking about.
Cincinnati got off to a slow start on the neutral court, opening the first half of play with only 4 for 25 shooting. Xavier swooped in and took advantage of the deficiency, and with 14:31 left on the clock in the opening half, took the lead on a Christon dunk that put the Musketeers up 10-9. Xavier didn’t relinquish the lead and the teams headed into the locker room at halftime 24-22, with the Bearcats on the short end of the scoreboard.
The second half was a different story, though. Cincinnati came out with a vengeance, outscoring Xavier 21-8 through the first ten minutes of the half. Led by Kilpatrick, who struggled in the first half of the game, the Bearcats dominated the Musketeers and controlled the rest of the shootout. UC showed who the dominant team was in Cincinnati, topping Xavier 60-45 as the clock struck zero.
Xavier was led by Travis Taylor, who posted the team’s only double digits of the night with 12. He was also the beneficiary of 10 rebounds and a steal in the Musketeers loss. He was followed up by Isaiah Philmore with eight points, Dee Davis with seven, and Christon with six points of his own. Brad Redford and Jeff Robinson came off of the bench to score six each.
Sean Kilpatrick came up big for the Bearcats after a slow start to the game. The guard put 25 points on the scoreboard, recorded four steals, and seven rebounds to lead his team to victory. The Bearcats had two more double digit scorers. Cashmere Wright posted 15 points, six rebounds and four assists, while JaQuon Parker picked up 11 and added six rebounds and one assist.
The Bearcats stayed undefeated and have advanced to 11-0 for the season. Cincinnati now owns the series against their cross town rivals 49-31. UC welcomes Wright State on Saturday, back on their home court.