Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
The game between No. 8 Xavier and crosstown rival Cincinnati was called with Xavier up 76-53 and 9.4 seconds left when the teams got into a full-fledged brawl on court and the referees called it.
After Xavier’s Tu Holloway jawed with the Cincinnati bench, a brawl ensued. Cincinnati forward Yancy Gates unloaded a punch to Xavier center Kenny Frease’s face, and Cincy big man Cheikh Mbodj later stomped on Frease’s head. Frease was left with a cut under his left eye and blood pouring out.
Expect both to be suspended for a good while.
Xavier’s Mark Lyons and Dez Wells also threw punches.
“You know, that’s what you’re going to see from Xavier and Cincinnati,” said Holloway, a New York native who finished with 17 points and 6 assists. “We got disrespected a little bit before the game, guys calling us out. We’re a tougher team. We’re grown men over here.
“We got a whole bunch of gangsters in our locker room. Not thugs, but tough guys on the court. And we went out there and zipped them up at the end of the game. That’s our motto, ‘Zip ’em up.’ And that’s what we just did to them.”
Cincinnati President Dr. Gregory H. Williams issued the following statement:
“I’m extremely disappointed with what happened at the end of today’s Crosstown Shootout. I am reviewing this situation with (athletic director) Whit Babcock and Mick Cronin and we are working to ensure this will never happen again.
“I appreciate Coach Cronin’s strong post-game comments and I want to support his position that this behavior is not what we expect of representatives of the University of Cincinnati. We will thoroughly investigate this incident and will act swiftly and firmly. We hold our student-athletes to a high standard and this behavior will not be tolerated.”
Cronin said he made his players take their jerseys off after the game, and that he will now sort through who gets suspended and who gets booted from the team.
“I’m going to meet with my AD and my President and I’m going to decide who’s on the team going forward,” Cronin said. “That’s what the University of Cincinnati is about. Period.”
The Big East and the Atlantic 10 can levy additional penalties beyond what the individual schools choose to do.
Dan Gavitt, Big East Associate Commissioner, said the league would sort out its course of action going forward.
“We will talk to the officials and engage with the coaches and the institutions so it might take some time,” he said in a statement.
“We’ll start with what penalties incurred through the game officials and go from there and see what is appropriate.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.