The Godwin’s Law of the Crosstown Shootout is that, eventually, every conversation with a UC fan will come back to a championship that happened back when most of our parents were still learning how to ride a bike. Like a modern Italian who won’t shut up about the Roman Empire, they cling to ancient history as if it has any bearing on a world, and game, that has changed so drastically as to be essentially unrecognizable. As with anything, recency tells a more accurate story. Here’s the Shootout in what we (and likely no one else) call the Banners Era.
This was not a good game for the Musketeers. To give you some idea where the program has come since then, the week before this game there was a great deal of consternation over a Jay Canty injury. You can try to spin a loss any way you like, but there’s not a lot to be said to justify a 20 point hiding. The bench scored two points, Kevin Feeney got some actual run, and everyone tried to focus on the URI game coming up later in the week.
The next year the Musketeers came back and slapped down the Bearcats. The fans were active and angry early, chanting “Who’s Kilpatrick?” at the mouthy UC guard who had said earlier in the week that no Xavier player could start for UC. Kenny Frease went for 13/13/1 in response, Mark Lyons dropped 19/1/4, Tu Holloway ripped off 17/2/6 and, rather memorably, stopped in front of the Bearcat bench with ten seconds left and let them know that he ran this city. “I talked to that whole staff. I said, 'This is my city. I'm cut from a different cloth,'" he said. "None of them guys on their team is like me. I let the whole staff know none of them was like me.”
When people talk about wanting heat and genuine dislike in their rivalries, they’ll talk about this game. The fight happened and, guess what, we’re all going to hear about it again Thursday. As it has been since the second it happened, it’s overblown. These things happen, if not for a bunch of bloviating old members of the media typing about Tu and Lyons with a racial subtext so thick that it was veiled only in the eyes of those who wanted it to be, it would have been a one day story.
This is the game that definitively answered the question of whether Brad Redford could play point guard at the college level. Xavier entered the game beat up and left it more beat up. Dee Davis played poorly but played his heart out and the defense held UC to .94 points per possession, but none of that mattered. Xavier simply could not score all night long and you aren’t winning many games with 45 points. Semaj Christon cramped up and Xavier headed on to the Jeff Robinson game against Wofford. Worth noting, this is the last time UC won the Shootout.
The second edition of the blessedly short-lived Crosstown Classic was a rout. Form the jump, Xavier fans controlled the venue and, even before it looked like someone pulled the fire alarm in the UC end, this was a crowd as one sided as the game. And the game was gloriously one sided. Xavier buried it early, leading by 14 with seven to play in the first half, blowing the lead out 22, and never taking their foot off the Bearcats throat. It’s rare in a rivalry game that the walk ons get in, but Coach Mack emptied the bench early in this one. Two years after Zip Em Up was born, it was back.
Dee Davis had his ups and downs in his time at Xavier. He was undersized, turned the ball over a lot early in his career, and was never an elite shooter. What he, inarguably, was was a gamer. Two years earlier, UC beat Dee down all game long, both mentally and physically, but on this day he would neither be cowed nor stopped. For 40 minutes he ran Xavier’s attack with the polish he showed his whole senior year, dishing out eight assists against one turnover despite being bullied all night long again. With 52 seconds left though, Xavier’s man of the hour answered the bell one more time.
“If there is an heir to Jim Boeheim's flop-sweating, wheedling throne, it's the spineless whiner from across town.” While Edmond Sumner delivered the exclamation point with his vicious punch on a cringing Octavious Ellis, this game had slipped away from UC mentally before that. They came out with all the old Bearcat tricks, haranguing the officials, playing something that only vaguely resembled basketball, and strutting around with an unearned arrogance. X led by 16 at the half but struggled out of the second half gates and watched the lead drop to five. Enter the hour though, and enter Edmond Sumner soaring out of the rafters as Ellis watched his reputation fade into rapidly approaching white and blue #4.