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12/19/2012 10:43 PM EST
No. 11 Cincinnati beats Xavier 60-45 amicably
CINCINNATI 60, XAVIER 45

By JOE KAY
AP Sports Writer

CINCINNATI (AP) -- No technical fouls. No flying elbows. No
rubbing it in. In a new setting, the city's annual crosstown
basketball game was back to being a good old rivalry.



And a rather amicable one at that.



Sean Kilpatrick scored 25 points and led a second-half surge
that carried No. 11 Cincinnati to a 60-45 victory over Xavier on
Wednesday night, renewing their rivalry one year after it was
marred by a brawl.



Cincinnati (11-0) won its 18th straight game at a downtown arena
that is the rivalry's stage for the next two years, an attempt
to take the nasty edge off the annual game. The first one met
most expectations.



"I thought it was great," Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin said. "If
it's the city's game, we've got to play in downtown Cincinnati
and let the fans come. I'm also a firm believer that what
happened last year, anybody that's been around the game saw it
coming for three years.



"It eliminates the hatred that gets spewed in the on-campus
environment and keeps it positive for everybody."



The game was moved downtown and given a new name - the Crosstown
Classic instead of the Crosstown Shootout - after last year's
ugly finish.



Xavier was unbeaten and ranked No. 8 when it beat the Bearcats
76-53 on the Musketeers' home court last season. With 9.4
seconds left, words were exchanged, the basketball was flung and
fists started flying - the darkest moment in the rivalry's
80-game history.



For a while, the schools considered calling off the annual game.
Instead, they moved it off-campus. The National Underground
Railroad Freedom Center also became a partner, emphasizing the
game's place in the community.



"Last year was something that's not going to happen again,"
Xavier guard Brad Redford said. "Both of these teams have a lot
of respect for each other. So I guess it's good to get last
year's game off our backs. I'm glad they allowed us to play each
other."



The game drew 14,528 fans to the arena, which seats 16,264 for
basketball. Having fans from both teams in the stands gave it a
different feel.



"I loved it, personally," said Cincinnati point guard Cashmere
Wright, who had 15 points. "You've got the two sides. They
scored, their crowd went crazy. We scored, our crowd went crazy.
It kept going back and forth. For the first time that this
happened, it was a great experience."



The schools' presidents, athletics directors and mascots met
courtside before the game, shaking hands while photographers
snapped away. They jointly presented a check for $50,000 to the
Freedom Center. Xavier and Cincinnati fans were seated on
opposite sides of the arena. The schools' dance teams performed
together at halftime.



Both schools hoped for a clean, exciting game so they could
finally get past last year's ugliness.



They got it.



The Bearcats got the better of it in the second half behind
Kilpatrick, who scored nine points in a 17-4 run that put them
ahead to stay. Travis Taylor led Xavier (7-3) with 12 points.



Cincinnati had a lot in its favor. The Bearcats play at the
downtown arena regularly. They also have a much deeper lineup, a
lot more experience and a high-scoring offense driven by their
three guards.



Xavier took away the Bearcats' fast-break offense at the outset
and turned it into a half-court game that was more the
Musketeers' style. And, for most of the first half, they got the
best of it.



Cincinnati opened in a 4-for-25 shooting slump, missing five
shots in the paint on one possession. Three-pointers by point
guard Dee Davis and Redford gave the Musketeers a 16-11 lead.
Xavier wasted chances to stretch the lead by missing all of its
six free throws in the half, but stayed ahead for the last 13
minutes and led 24-22 at the break.



Kilpatrick, Cincinnati's leading scorer, was only 3 of 12 from
the field in the first half. He led the way as the Bearcats took
control to start the second half.



Kilpatrick had two steals and scored nine points during the 17-4
run that opened the second half and made it 39-28. The Bearcats
increased their defensive intensity, forcing four turnovers
during their go-ahead run. Xavier had only seven turnovers in
the first half.



"When I saw lanes, I just started driving and whatever happened,
happened," said Kilpatrick, who was 10 of 27 from the field.
"They were cutting off certain angles, so my spin move was
working. I was just being aggressive."



Davis went to the bench midway through the half to get treatment
for a cramp in his left calf. Shooting guard Semaj Christon -
Xavier's top scorer - also had to leave with cramping, leaving
the Musketeers at a disadvantage against the press.



"We go into halftime feeling good about where we were and what
we needed to do in the second half, then UC really showed up
with their defensive pressure," Xavier coach Chris Mack said.
"They really rattled us early on in the second half with their
pressure. We knew it was coming and we made some ill-advised
decisions and some lazy passes that really swung the momentum in
their favor."



The Musketeers cut the lead to eight, but Kilpatrick hit another
3 that pushed it to 51-40 with 6:09 left. The lead never got
below double digits again. As the game wound down, some
Cincinnati fans chanted "Zip `em up," a reference to a comment
Xavier's Tu Holloway made after the 23-point win last year.



---



Follow Joe Kay on Twitter: http://twitter.com/apjoekay

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