Cincinnati, OH (Sports Network) - A heated series that will forever be marred
by last season's ugly brawl will try to get some distance from that
unfortunate incident, as crosstown rivals Xavier and Cincinnati square off on
Wednesday night at U.S. Bank Arena in what is now being called the Skyline
Chili Crosstown Classic.
Xavier comes into this game with a solid 7-2 overall record. The team has been
idle since Dec. 9, when the Musketeers knocked off Kent State, 62-55. It is
the fourth win in the last five games for Chris Mack's squad.
Mick Cronin's Bearcats are one of the few teams in the nation without a loss.
Now ranked 11th in the nation, Cincinnati moved to 10-0 on the season with a
72-56 win in Charleston against Marshall this past weekend.
This marks the 80th all-time meeting in this series, with Cincinnati holding a
48-31 advantage. This is the first matchup between these two teams at U.S.
Bank Arena since 1987. Last year's Xavier victory (76-53) was the fourth in
the last five meetings for the Musketeers, but will be remembered for a bench-
clearing brawl that resulted in ejections and subsequent suspensions for both
Xavier was without second-leading scorer Justin Martin (concussion), but still
knocked off Kent State last time out to get back in the win column. The
Musketeers held the Golden Flashes to just .323 shooting and used a 12-0 run
in the second half to take control. Freshman Semaj Christon led the way with
18 points. Brad Redford added 14 points, with 11 of those coming in the second
half. Dee Davis rounded out the top scorers for Xavier with 10 points.
The Musketeers are averaging a modest 71.0 ppg, but have been efficient
shooting the basketball, converting just under 50 percent from the floor
(.499) overall. Christon has made an instant impact, shooting .517 from the
field and leading the team in scoring (15.8 ppg) and assists (5.4 apg). Davis
can also score (11.9 ppg) and distribute (3.9 apg). Martin (12.4 ppg) and
Travis Taylor (10.1 ppg) contribute as well. Martin however, remains
questionable for this contest.
Cincinnati has flourished at both ends of the floor this season, with the
result being a gaudy +24.1 scoring margin. The team has also dominated the
boards, leading the nation in rebounding (46.1 rpg) and ranking seventh in
rebounding margin (+11.5). Junior guard Sean Kilpatrick has proved to be
lethal offensively (19.3 ppg), while also making an impact on the glass (6.1
rpg). Senior guard Cashmere Wright can also fill up the basket (14.9 ppg). A
potent guard trio is completed by senior JaQuon Parker (10.7 ppg).
Kilpatrick had his worst game of the season, converting just 5-of-15 shots
from the floor, but still posted 13 points (a season-low) in a 16-point
victory over the Thundering Herd. Wright led the way offensively for
Cincinnati with 14 points. The Bearcats compensated for a less-than-stellar
shooting performance, but holding Marshall under 40 percent shooting (.395),
outrebounding the Herd 40-31 and forcing 20 turnovers.
The Sports Network