Since Bob Huggins led UC to a win over Xavier in the first Crosstown Shootout at Cintas Center, UC has never been able to defeat their rival on their home-court. John Brannen marks the fourth Bearcat to give it try, but his Bearcats fell 73-66 to Xavier to continue the Musketeers’ home winning streak.
While Saturday’s game marks Xavier’s 8th consecutive home win over its archrival, the Musketeers’ now have now 9 of their last 13 over the Bearcats. While UC leads the series 51-37 overall, Xavier has led the series 23-16 since 1980. The Bearcats haven’t won consecutive games in the series since 1994-95.
Xavier took the lead with about six minutes remaining in the first half which was never relinquished. The Musketeers led 32-29 at halftime, but an 11-2 run early in the second half expanded the Xavier lead to a 16 point lead, its largest of the game.
Junior forward Naji Marshall was the star today, scoring 31 points, grabbing eight rebounds, and taking five steals. Senior Tyrique Jones scored 10 points and grabbed nine rebounds despite sitting most of the first half with foul trouble, while freshman Zach Freemantle had nine points and four rebounds in relief of Jones.
The Musketeers held preseason AAC Player of the Year Jarron Cumberland in check all game, as he scored just 11 points on 14 shots. Guard Keith Williams led the Bearcats with 15 points and nine rebounds.
Xavier will return to the court next Saturday when they play at Wake Forest for the Skip Prosser Classic. The game tips at 4 p.m. and will be televised on the ACC Network.