No. 8 Xavier pulled away to beat crosstown rival Cincinnati, 76-53, on Saturday in a game that was marred by an on-court brawl in the final seconds.
The benches-clearing melee erupted with under 10 seconds remaining, forcing officials to end the game early.
It started after Xavier's Dezmine Wells shoved Cincinnati's Ge'Lawn Guyn as the Bearcats freshman jawed with Xavier guard Tu Holloway near one of the baskets.
Players came together in a scrum after that as officials and coaches tried to separate them.
Replays showed Cincinnati forward Yancy Gates connecting on a punch to the face of Xavier center Kenny Frease, who dropped to the ground. The blow opened a cut over Frease's left eye.
"You seen the score?" said Xavier guard Mark Lyons, who had a game-high 19 points. "Of course they're gong to try to get some retaliation."
Holloway scored 17 with six assists for Xavier (8-0), which has won eight in a row to open a season for the first time since a nine-game streak in 2008-09.
Gates posted a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Bearcats (5-3), who had won their last five road games dating back to last season.
Trailing 23-22 with under six minutes to play in the first half, Holloway drained a three-pointer to ignite a 12-0 Xavier run. The Musketeers led 34-25 at halftime and the advantage grew to 16 at 43-27 early in the second half when Frease tipped in a Lyons miss.
Cincinnati closed to within 10 points, but Justin Martin knocked down a trey to put Xavier up 56-38 with 9:20 left.
The Bearcats never got closer than 14 points the rest of the way.
Xavier has won 44 of 45 at home, including 14 straight...Frease had 13 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks...Dion Dixon scored 14 points for Cincinnati...The Bearcats haven't posted a road victory against a top-10 opponent since besting then-No. 8 Louisville, 71-66, on January 4, 1990.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times