Sunday, January 25, 2004

Choose the Crosstown Shootout's
most memorable moment

OK, so we were having a hard time holding off on the Skyline Chili Crosstown Shootout hype. (Hey, it's only nine days away.)

We also know you've read numerous rankings lists - Best Shootouts Ever! - but have never been asked for your input. Until now.

The series, which UC leads 45-25, is rich with memorable moments. The non-handshake. The fights. The crutch. Lenny Brown's shot. And Jamal Walker's, John Zeides' and Joe Stiffend's. Terry Nelson's prediction. The upsets of No. 1.

Which were the most memorable? The Enquirer has compiled a list of candidates and would like your votes. Read through our picks below, then rank your top 10. Write in your own if you have different favorites. (Voting will end at 5 p.m. Thursday.) Next Sunday, we'll give you the results.

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The First One
XU 29, UC 25 (March 7, 1928): The first Shootout was also the dedication game for Xavier's Schmidt Fieldhouse, and the host school was then known as St. Xavier College. The Enquirer reported that nearly 10,000 fans jammed the fieldhouse to watch what was considered a huge upset. The teams wouldn't play again for 15 years.

Upset Special
XU 67, UC 64 (Jan. 6, 1955): Xavier star Dave Piontek scored 29 points as the Musketeers upset the Jack Twyman-led Bearcats. UC got revenge a month later - at the time, the teams played twice a year - with a 70-69 victory.

The Darkest Moment
No. 3 UC 80, XU 68 (March 8, 1958): Oscar Robertson, playing his first varsity season, scored 29 points. But the game was marred when he was the target of a wine bottle thrown from the Cincinnati Gardens stands.

45 Isn't Enough
UC 94, XU 92 (March 4, 1964): Xavier's Steve Thomas scored 45 points, still a Shootout record, but was called for traveling in the final five seconds as he drove for a potential tying shot. The game featured a fight late, with UC's Ron Bonham taking a swing at XU's Bryan Williams. Bonham and XU's John Gorman scuffled on the floor, and Bonham - who had 32 points - was ejected. UC was coming off three consecutive NCAA finals appearances.

The Crutch
UC 79, XU 69, OT (March 3, 1967): One of the ugliest games in series history. There were 57 fouls, plus an overtime brawl involving Xavier's Joe Pangrazio and UC's Raleigh Wynn that ended with Pangrazio grabbing a crutch from the stands and throwing it at Wynn. Both players were ejected, and two spectators were injured as fans pelted the court with cups, coins and other debris.

The First Big Shot
XU 72, UC 71 (March 5, 1968): Reserve guard John Zeides made a jumper from the foul line with six seconds left, ending UC's 12-game series winning streak. XU coach George Krajack literally lost his shirt after being dunked in the postgame shower by Muskies players.

Nerves of Steel
XU 66, UC 65 (Feb. 17, 1971): Xavier's Bob Fullarton hit two game-winning free throws and admitted later he was "scared to death." XU wouldn't beat UC again for nine years.

Myron's Muscle
XU 55, UC 52 (Jan. 30, 1985): A Shootout-record crowd of 16,342 in Riverfront Coliseum saw Xavier overcome the 9-for-10 shooting (20 points) of UC freshman Roger McClendon. Another instance of the rivalry's intensity: UC's Myron Hughes waited until officials weren't looking and decked XU's Eddie Johnson.

Stiffend's Shot
UC 75, XU 73 (Jan. 29, 1987): UC's Joe Stiffend hit a 17-foot jumper at the buzzer for the victory. The game featured a remarkable duel between UC's Roger McClendon (29 points) and XU's Byron Larkin (24 points) and gave Bearcats coach Tony Yates his first Shootout victory in four tries.

Boxing Gloves
XU 98, UC 80 (Jan. 12, 1988): A fight between Xavier's Dexter Campbell and UC's Keith Starks with 3:56 left spurred the Musketeers on a 16-2 run to put the game away. XU's Byron Larkin scored 26 points. This UC team finished 11-17, the last Bearcats team to have a losing record.

Jumpin' Jamal
No. 25 XU 90, UC 88, OT (Jan. 31, 1990): Xavier came from six points down in the final 53 seconds of overtime to spoil the Shootout debut of UC coach Bob Huggins, winning on a Jamal Walker 3-pointer with seven seconds left. It was set up by a controversial call: With 17 seconds left, XU was awarded the ball after XU's Michael Davenport knocked the ball from UC's Lou Banks out of bounds; officials ruled it was off Banks. Afterward, Huggins and then-athletic director Rick Taylor started to chase referee Ken Faulkner off the court.

The Prediction
UC 93, XU 75 (Jan. 29, 1992): UC's Terry Nelson said before the game, "Xavier doesn't have a chance. We should blow them out." The Bearcats backed him up, and would end up streaking to the Final Four.

The Handshake Game
No. 22 XU 82, No. 19 UC 76, OT (Jan. 19, 1994): After heated exchanges between the benches during the game, Bob Huggins refused to shake Pete Gillen's hand, and Gillen screamed at him. Afterward, Huggins said, "I'm not a phony," while Gillen fumed about the snub. It was the only Shootout in which both teams were ranked and the last one for Gillen, who took the Providence job that spring. Brian Grant sent the game into OT with a putback of a Tyrice Walker miss.

Danny Boy
No. 3 UC 99, XU 90 (Jan. 17, 1996): Danny Fortson finished with a career-high 40 points and 17 rebounds, and the highest-scoring Shootout in history was UC's sixth win in the last seven meetings.

Brown Buries Bearcats
XU 71, No. 1 UC 69 (Nov. 26, 1996): Xavier's Lenny Brown hit a jump shot at the buzzer from just inside the foul line over the outstretched arms of Rodrick Monroe to give the Musketeers an upset of the top-ranked Bearcats at Shoemaker Center. UC's Charles Williams had dribbled out of bounds on the previous possession to set up Brown's heroics.

Another No. 1 Stunner
XU 66, No. 1 UC 64 (Dec. 18, 1999): Xavier's Kevin Frey snapped a tie score on two foul shots with 30 seconds left, then scored on a breakaway layup with 12 seconds left as the Musketeers again downed a No. 1-ranked Bearcat team. This was the final Shootout in Cincinnati Gardens.

The Steal
XU 69, No. 17 UC 67 (Dec. 14, 2000): With UC leading 67-66 and 35 seconds left, Xavier's Lloyd Price stole the ball from Steve Logan at midcourt and scored the winning layup.

Million-Dollar Man
UC 75, XU 55 (Dec. 14, 2001): Memorable mostly for Theo Nelson sinking a halfcourt shot at halftime to win a million-dollar Skyline promotion. David West insisted that if he didn't sprain his ankle, XU would have won. XU officials apologized to UC after an obscene chant from the Cintas Center student section.