In the annals of mankind's sporting history, big performances in rivalries are what separate the players who are revered forever by their fanbases from those who simply don the uniform for a time and then vanish into rarely accessed memory. Bucky Dent was an otherwise unremarkable journeyman middle infielder except for the fact that he got the biggest his of his life as a Yankee against the Red Sox. Geoff Hurst had a pretty pedestrian goal scoring rate for England, but he put away three in the World Cup against Germany and now he will never be forgotten (if you knew who he was in the first place). The great thing about sports is that, to become unforgettable, you don't have to be better than everyone all the time (although that would help), you just have to be better than the team your fans hate once. Here then are the ten men who have risen to the occasion in College Basketball's premier rivalry for Xavier since the turn of the century.
2000-2001: Xavier 69-67 UC MVP: David West
This one is little surprise for anyone who was alive and aware of Xavier in 2000, or anyone who has talked with someone who was. West had not turned up the year before in Xavier's 2 point win, but the Sophomore was at the center of a storming comeback from a 15 point first half deficit as X sent Skip Prosser out a Shootout winner. West went for 23/13/1 on 4-9/0-0/15-19 shooting as UC's post men simply could find no way to deal with him legally.
Honorable Mention: Lloyd Price (9/3/2 and 4 steals), Kevin Frey (15/7/0)
2002-2003: Xavier 50-44 UC MVP: David West
It was that man West again, who UC's Jason Maxiell decided to call out in the run up to the game for a perceived lack of toughness, who the Bearcats could not stop. This was the lowest scoring shootout since 1945 as the teams shot 8-45 (17%) from three and there were only 13 free throws shot all game. West was enjoying his Senior season, his best as a Muskie, and went for 23/10/2 on a 10-19/1-4/2-2 shooting line. Still regarded as Xavier's best all time player, West went out a three time winner in the Shootout and an absolute legend in the minds of Xavier faithful.
Honorable Mention: Romain Sato (12/9/1)
2003-2004: Xavier 71-69 UC MVP: Romain Sato
No, not that 71-69 win, the other one. This one saw a flagging 10-9 X squad, fresh off a loss at Dayton (ugh, you know things were bad) surrender a 15-1 run in the first half, during which they missed 9 shots, before somehow scraping their way to a 6th victory in 8 years. Sato was everything Xavier needed him to be as a Senior on a size-challenged team, going for 18/11/4 on 4-10/1-3/9-10 shooting. His impact was immeasurable as he played all 40 minutes, grabbed 4 offensive rebounds, 4 steals, and forced a turnover with 2.2 seconds left to ice the win.
Honorable Mention: Lionel Chalmers (20/1/1 and a stepback 18 footer to give X their final lead)
2005-2006: Xavier 73-71 UC (OT) MVP: Brian Thornton
In a game where X shot 1-18 from three and UC was 10-24, Thornton's simple refusal to be stopped inside was the difference for X. This was a rare meeting of two unranked teams, but it had all the fireworks that rivalry usually produces. X blew a 6 point lead with 36 seconds left and a 5 point lead in overtime before finally closing the game out in what UC coach Andy Kennedy regarded as an unsatisfactory fashion. Thornton, for his part, went for 20/12/3 with a pair of blocks thrown in for good measure on 7-9/0-0/6-10 shooting. He also beat UC up for 7 offensive boards as a very shallow UC bench contained no ingredients to successfully stop Thornton.
Honorable Mention: Stanley Burrell (20/3/0) Justin Doelmann (7/15/3, 5 blocked shots and 2 steals)
2007-2008: Xavier 64-59 UC MVP: Derrick Brown
Josh Duncan was having a good game before having to leave due to injury, prompting UC's surge back into the game. Enter Brown, who took control in the final 7 minutes, matching UC's 11 points by himself and insuring that another uncharacteristically good three point shooting performance by UC (8-18) would be squandered. For the game, Brown had 17/6/0 on 5-10/0-3/7-8 leading the way out of four Musketeers in double figures.
Honorable Mention: Drew Lavender (12/3/5, 1 steal and the box score says a blocked shot?) Josh Duncan (11/4/0, 1 steal, 1 block)
2008-2009: Xavier 75-65 UC MVP: CJ Anderson
Xavier once again held off a late UC run, this one from significantly further back, to pull away in the end. Xavier led big in the first half, but 18 second half points from Deonta Vaughn brought UC back within 3 with 7:40 to play. When Anderson scored his final points of the night 6 minutes later, it was to push Xavier's lead back to 12 and break UC's spirits once and for all. Anderson ended with 17/11/1 on 7-13/0-0/3-4 shooting with and assist for good measure. Of his 11 boards, 5 came on the offensive end as Xavier pulled in 15 of their own misses.
Honorable Mention: Derrick Brown (20/10/0, 2 technical fouls) Dante Jackson (15/2/0, 2 steals)
2009-2010: Xavier 83-79 UC (2OT) MVP: Tu Holloway
In 2009, most people still called him Terrell Holloway and he wasn't yet the pride of Hempstead, NY. Legends are made from big moments, though, and this was Holloway's arrival as a player not soon to be forgotten by X fans in front of a national audience. There was a pleasant familiarity about a ranked UC team coming to Xavier and leaving with their tails tucked between their legs, but the tide had shifted from the Huggins-Prosser days and Xavier was becoming the more nationally prominent program. In a harbinger of things to come, benches emptied after a hard foul by Lance Stephenson on Jason Love and Holloway would score Xavier's final 4 points of regulation to knot the game at 61. In overtime, Holloway would go on a 7-2 run by himself over the final 52 seconds, including a three point play with 19 seconds left, to keep Xavier in it. Finally, he would assist Jason Love's bucket that would give Xavier their final lead with 40 seconds left in double OT. Holloway ended with 26/1/4 on 7-13/1-5/11-11 shooting for the day and begin building his legend on the Xavier campus.
Honorable Mention: Jason Love (7/19/0, 5 blocks) Jordan Crawford (16/6/2)
2011-2012: Xavier 76-53 UC MVP: Kenny Frease
Hey, did you guys know there was a fight at the end of this game?!? It's true, there was punching and a guy getting kicked and then some yelling and Mick Cronin acting super pious for not letting a guy who assaulted someone not play basketball for a while. As for the game itself, it was complete domination by Xavier against a UC team that shot 1-16 from three. Some dude who was starting at wing for them had a really crappy day after he said Tu wasn't any good and then UC players forgot the rules and tried to get all their players out there at the same time. Then there was some punching, another violation, and then Butler's clock keeper swooped in and just ended the whole thing right then (as I recall). Frease ended with 13/13/1 on 6-12/0-0/1-2 shooting, but his 4 blocked shots and the fact Yancy Gates needed 15 shots to score 18 points is what put Big Kenny over the top for me.
Honorable Mention: Mark Lyons (19/1/4) Tu Holloway (17/2/6, was not like the UC guys)
2013-2014: Xavier 64-47 UC MVP: Justin Martin(?)
In the sterilized, post-fracas version of the Shootout, Xavier showed they could beat UC off campus as well as, in a flip of the script from the 90's the major conference team humiliated the mid major in the rivalry. Xavier was sloppy, turning the ball over 20 times, but UC was 14-42 from the floor, which makes it hard to win games. The enigmatic Justin Martin emerged from his own shadow to go for 17/5/2 on 5-9/3-5/4-4, which kinda makes you wonder why he didn't try to shoot more. Anyway, he would also pester a guy on UC whose name has been lost to history all night and chip in a steal and an offensive board.
Honorable Mention: Matt Stainbrook (7/11/2, 4 steals) James Farr (10/6/1)
2014-2015: Xavier 59-57 UC MVP: Dee Davis
If I had said anyone else, Joel would have made sure I didn't wake up tomorrow. That being said, in the first game on UC's campus since the brawl, Dee made sure that X went home winners after faltering for much of the second half. In a game that was fought tooth and nail inside, this one came down to outside shooting, as Xavier went 10-17 from deep to hold off UC. Xavier's final three point attempt of the night came from Davis, who found nothing but net with 52 seconds left to give Xavier a 56-55 lead, one which they would battle back for in the final seconds and eventually hold on to thanks to big free throws from Trevon Bluiett and Myles Davis. Dee was good for 16/3/8 in his final shootout on 5-8/5-5/1-2 shooting after the UC scouting report labeled him as a bad outside shooter.
Honorable Mention: Myles Davis (12/4/1)
So that is it (until I have to update this next year) for our look at Xavier's heroes from the past 15 Crosstown Shootouts. There are some storied players in the bunch, but maybe you recall one that I might have missed. Whether it is a big game from a Xavier player in years before the ones I covered, or a debate over who the actual MVP for Xavier was in one of these games, let us know your thoughts and memories below.