No. 12 Xavier again beats rival No. 23 Cincinnati, 65-55
CINCINNATI (AP) — The crosstown rivalry is becoming an annual delight for Xavier.
Playing its nearby rival at home, 12th-ranked Xavier ran out to an 18-point lead and beat No. 23 Cincinnati for the third straight time, 65-55 on Saturday.
Myles Davis scored a season-high 17 points as the Musketeers (10-0) matched the best start in school history and extended their domination over the Bearcats (8-2), winning for the seventh time in nine years.
“The atmosphere is crazy, regardless whether it’s at Xavier or at UC,” Davis said. “The two teams play hard. It’s my third one, and each one gets better and better each year.”
Not for the Bearcats, who lost to Butler on their home court last week and dropped another one to the school located only 2 ½ miles away. Octavius Ellis had 13 points for Cincinnati, which never led and never got closer than five points in the second half.
Usually, the winner of the crosstown games comes away with a season highlight. For Xavier, it was just one in a series of them.
“Everybody has a ton of confidence in the other person,” Davis said. “When you have that, anything is possible. We expect this from everybody. Everybody plays their part, and with that comes winning.”
It was the first time the game was played at Xavier’s Cintas Center since four years ago, when a brawl between the schools prompted the officials to call the game with 9.4 seconds left and the Musketeers up 76-53.
Also, it was the first time that both teams were ranked in the matchup since 1993-94. Xavier won that one, too.
The only smudge on Xavier’s opening half was the way leading scorer Trevon Bluiett got a slow start, missing his first five shots. He had a three-point play during a 9-0 run that built the lead to 18.
Xavier took a 42-26 lead into halftime — the most points Cincinnati had allowed in an opening half this season. The Musketeers shot 50 percent from the field and had a 20-12 advantage in rebounds, including eight offensive boards.
“You’ve got no chance,” Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin said. “You’re not coming back from 16 down here unless you rain in a lot of 3s.”
Cincinnati struggled against Xavier’s 1-3-1 zone defense in the second half and finished 7 of 26 from beyond the arc.
The Musketeers missed their first four shots to open the second half, and Cincinnati went on a 10-point run that got it down to 42-36 — the closest the Bearcats had been since the game’s opening minutes. Davis hit a pull-up jumper and a 3-pointer that rebuilt the lead to double digits.
Freshman Edmond Sumner had a driving dunk as Xavier kept turning back Cincinnati. Jalen Reynolds had back-to-back hook shots that put Xavier up 64-51 with 2:22 left.
Xavier has won seven straight in the series as the home team. ... The Musketeers are 8-0 when they’re ranked for the rivalry game. ... After the brawl, the annual game was moved to a neutral site — a downtown arena — for two years before returning to campus last season, with Cincinnati losing on its home court 59-57. ... Both coaches got technical fouls for arguing calls.
Cincinnati: Freshman guard Jacob Evans, who twisted his left ankle in UC’s last game, played with a brace on the ankle and had four points in 18 minutes.
Xavier: Bluiett had scored 21 and 22 points in the last two games, part of back-to-back double-doubles. He finished with a season-low three points on 1-for-8 shooting.
Cincinnati: The Bearcats host Norfolk State on Tuesday.
Xavier: The Musketeers host Auburn next Saturday, completing a stretch of four straight home games.
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