By: Isabel Smith ~Staff Writer~
As the Crosstown Shootout nears, the Xavier community is gearing up for one of Cincinnati’s most exciting nights.
The intracity rivalry began with the first game in 1927 at Schmidt Fieldhouse and has since racked up several notable moments.
First, it’s hard to forget Xavier’s victory over No. 1 Cincinnati back in 1996. Skip Prosser’s Musketeers faced Bob Huggins’ team on the Bearcats home court. The Bearcats’ ranking and the home court advantage put Cincinnati as the victors in the majority of predictions.
Xavier gained experience facing the Bearcats during summer play and was able to remain competitive until the end of the match.
Xavier’s James Posey made a shot that tied the game at 69 with just about seven seconds left to play.
Cincinnati point guard Charles Williams took the ball and tried a crossover that resulted in the ball bouncing off his foot.
Prosser desired a play to give Torraye Braggs the ball, but assistant Jeff Battle decided to put the team’s fate in the hands of Lenny Brown. Brown dribbled the ball and, when he realized there was only a second left, made a shot that earned his team the game winning points.
In recordings of the game, the former voice of the Musketeers, Andy MacWilliams can be heard exclaiming, “The UC Bearcats are No. 1 in the country, No. 2 in their own city!”
The 1999 Shootout seemed all too familiar for Xavier. The Musketeers headed to the Cincinnati Gardens to face their crosstown rivals. The Bearcats were once again ranked No. 1 in the nation. And once again, no one thought Xavier could pull the victory — no one except Xavier.
The ending wasn’t as exciting as Lenny Brown’s buzzer beater, but the victory is always sweet against the Bearcats. The Musketeers controlled the game by beating the competition to rebounds and loose balls.
In the game, Xavier forced a season-high 19 turnovers. Xavier made 19 of 30 free throws that earned them the victory despite shooting 39.1 compared to Cincinnati’s 50.
Xavier’s zone defense was also a factor. The Musketeers were able to prevent the Bearcats’ strong offense from nearing its 82-point-agame average.
In the end, Xavier came out on top with a 66-64 victory that once again proved Cincinnati was No. 2 in its own city.
In the 2004 Shootout, Cincinnati was ranked No. 10 and Xavier entered the match in the midst of struggling season. And Xavier once again won a game it wasn’t supposed to win.
The Shootout lived up to its hype. Cincinnati held a 25-14 lead before the Musketeers went on a 21-5 run.
The second half was incredibly close and it took a winning shot at the buzzer by Xavier’s Lionel Chalmers to decide the game. The Musketeers’ fifth-year senior helped seal a victory that helped propel his team into its first Elite Eight appearance in the Big Dance.