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The Crosstown Shootout is an annual men's college basketball game played between the University of Cincinnati Bearcats and Xavier University Musketeers. The two schools are separated by 3 miles (4.8 km) in Cincinnati, making the archrivalry one of the closest major rivalries in the country. The game was first played in 1927, and has been played every year since 1946. In recent years, the game has been sponsored by Skyline Chili.

Crosstown Shootout
SportMen's basketball
First meeting1927
Xavier 29, Cincinnati 25
Latest meetingDecember 8, 2018
Cincinnati 62, Xavier 47
Next meeting2019
Meetings total86
All-time seriesCincinnati leads 51 - 35
Largest victoryXavier: 26 points (1956–57)
Cincinnati: 30 points (1964–65)
Current win streakCincinnati, 1 (2018–present)
2008 Shootout logo

Throughout its history, the game has been played at six different venues including the Armory Fieldhouse and Fifth Third Arena on the UC campus; and the Schmidt Field House and Cintas Center on the Xavier campus. However, the majority of the games have been played at two other sites—Cincinnati Gardens and U.S. Bank Arena. The Gardens has served as the regular home court for both schools at different times, and was even shared by both teams from 1987 to 1989. U.S. Bank Arena was UC's home court from 1976 to 1987 when it was known as Riverfront Coliseum.

From 1989 to 2011, the game alternated between the schools' on-campus arenas. However, the 2011 game was marred at the end by a bench-clearing brawl. The Cincinnati Enquirer reported on May 22, 2012 that due to the brawl, the game would be held at U.S. Bank Arena for the next two seasons. The continuation of the series beyond the 2013-14 season would depend on the behavior of the players and fans.[1] On June 14, 2012, both schools held a joint press conference at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center announcing that the annual rivalry will now be called "Skyline Chili Crosstown Classic."[2]

On May 13, 2014, after a two year series at U.S. Bank Arena, the two rivals announced at a joint press conference that they would return to playing their annual men's basketball game on-campus, ditching the moniker of Classic in the process and returning the series to its previous name of the Skyline Crosstown Shootout.[3] The agreement for the alternating home-and-home series was for ten years. The first game of the series was held on February 18, 2015 during ESPN's Rivalry Week. Xavier hosted Cincinnati on December 12, 2015 at the Cintas Center. The dates for the first two games were set, ensuring that students are on campus when the game is played.


Notable GamesEdit

1945–46: Despite two prior meetings, this matchup marked the "official" start to the annualized series that would take the city by storm. The Bearcats would emerge victorious, 53-39.

1963–64: A series-high 45 points were scored by Xavier's Steve Thomas, but Cincinnati's Ron Bonham scored 35 en route to a 94–92 Bearcats victory.[4] The 186 combined points is still the most in series history.

1993-94: After a hard-fought 82-76 overtime win for Xavier, Cincinnati head coach Bob Huggins refused to shake his XU counterpart Pete Gillen's hand post-game and instead verbally confronted him, causing much controversy. This was to be Gillen's final Crosstown Shootout.

1996–97: The Cincinnati Bearcats were ranked #1 in the country and were largely considered frontrunners for the national championship by several media outlets, including Sports Illustrated. Xavier's Lenny Brown made a running one-hander at the buzzer to propel Xavier to a 71–69 win. Both teams made it to the NCAA Second Round.[4]

1999–2000: Again the Bearcats were ranked #1 in the country. And again Xavier defeated Cincinnati 66–64 in the final moments of the game on two free throws and a breakaway dunk by Kevin Frey.[4]

2003-04: Xavier came into the game a huge underdog against #10 Cincinnati, but pulled off the upset over the Bearcats 71-69 at the Cintas Center. This would lead to X on a 16-2 stretch the rest of the season, culminating in the program's first ever appearance in the elite 8.[5]

2009–10: Xavier defeated #19 Cincinnati 83–79 in a double-overtime thriller at the Cintas Center. The game was remembered because of future NBA players, Xavier's Jordan Crawford and Cincinnati's Lance Stephenson, going head to head. However, Xavier's Tu Holloway stole the show scoring a then career high 26.[6]

2011–12: Xavier, ranked #8 in the country, handily beat the Bearcats 76–53, but the focus of the game was the bench-clearing brawl which resulted in the game ending with 9.4 seconds left and the subsequent suspensions of four Bearcat players and four Musketeer players. Despite speculation that the rivalry would be disbanded following the brawl, UC President Greg Williams stated to the Sporting News, "Every indication is that we are going to play next year."[7] Both teams made it to the championship game of their respective conference tournaments and the Sweet Sixteen of the 2012 NCAA Tournament.

2012–13: The newly-renamed "Crosstown Classic" was played at U.S. Bank Arena for the first time since the brawl in 2011. After a back and forth 1st half, the #11 Bearcats dominated in the second half, soundly defeating Xavier 60-45 to improve to 11–0.[8]

2014–15: The Shootout moniker returned as the game was played at Cincinnati's Fifth Third Arena on February 18, 2015, marking the first game back on campus since the 2011 brawl. Xavier led by 12 points at halftime; however, the Bearcats took a 57–56 lead in the final minute of the game. With the home crowd going crazy, it looked like Cincinnati would secure a victory. However, freshman Trevon Bluiett was fouled and made two free throws with 11.5 seconds left (his only points of the game) to give Xavier a 58–57 lead. Farad Cobb missed a three point jumper to seal the win for the Musketeers.[9]

2015–16: For the first time since 1994, both teams came into the game being nationally ranked in the top 25. #12 Xavier dominated from tip-off, defeating #23 Cincinnati 65–55 to improve to 10–0 in front of a Cintas Center record crowd of 10,617, the first Shootout game on X's campus since the brawl.[10]

2016–17: Almost 2 years after making the game winning free throws in the Feb. 2015 shootout, Xavier's Trevon Bluiett scored a career-high 40 points, including 26 points in the first half, making his first 10 shots, and tying a school record by making 9 three-pointers. Despite his performance, the #19 Bearcats overcame an 8-point deficit at halftime to defeat the #24 Musketeers 86–78 in front of a Fifth Third Arena record crowd of 13,477, ending Xavier's 3 game winning streak in the Shootout (they have never won four straight).[11]

2017–18: The #21 Musketeers led wire-to-wire against the #11 Bearcats, winning 89-76, handing Cincinnati their first loss of the year in front of a record crowd of 10,817 at the Cintas Center. At the end of the game, Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin had to be restrained by Cincinnati coaches and an official from going after Xavier senior guard J.P. Macura during the handshake line after a verbal exchange with Macura.[12]. The Mustketeers and Bearcats would end the season as a 1 and 2 seed, respectively, in the NCAA Tournament. This game eventually turned out to be Chris Mack's final crosstown shootout game as Xavier's head coach, as he left the school on March 27, 2018 to take the head coaching job at Louisville.[13]


The history of the Crosstown Shootout dates back to 1928, when the University of Cincinnati helped St. Xavier College dedicate its brand new, $350,000 Schmidt Fieldhouse, which had a capacity of 4,500. Xavier won the game, 29-25, and the two teams didn't meet again until the 1942-43 season. The teams began playing on an annual basis starting in 1945-46, and from 1948 to 1958, they played each other twice a year.

The rivalry between Cincinnati and Xavier is regarded as one of the best in the game. The two schools' short distance apart has distinguished it as a proximity rivalry. From 1990 through 2011 and again since 2015, the game alternates between Xavier's and Cincinnati's campus arenas on a yearly basis.[14] ESPN's Jay Bilas was quoted as saying, "Cincinnati and Xavier have created a rivalry that is unparalleled when it comes to outright passion and civic division."[15]

In 1990 a local TV station refused to interrupt their coverage of the Cincinnati–Xavier game for the 1990 State of the Union address.[16]

The game is widely regarded as one of the hottest tickets in Cincinnati every year. The game is also regularly attended by local legends and sports icons Pete Rose and basketball great and former Bearcat Oscar Robertson.

College comparisonEdit

Category Xavier Cincinnati
Type Private Public
Affiliation Catholic (Jesuit) State of Ohio
Location Cincinnati Cincinnati
Students 6,700 44,338
School Colors Navy Blue & White Black & Red
Nickname Musketeers Bearcats
Arena Cintas Center Fifth Third Arena
Wins 35 51
Longest Streak 3 12



  1. ^ Koch, Bill (May 22, 2012). "Exclusive: Crosstown Shootout set for U.S. Bank Arena". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved May 22, 2012.
  2. ^ "Crosstown Shootout Gets New Name, Venue". WLWT. 14 June 2012. Archived from the original on 9 February 2013.
  3. ^ Goheen, Kevin. "Crosstown Shootout will return home". Retrieved 13 May 2014.
  4. ^ a b c "Best rivalries: Cincinnati-Xavier".
  5. ^ Xavier Tops UC In Crosstown Shootout
  6. ^ "Men's Hoops Defeats Crosstown Rival Cincinnati, 83-79, in Double-Overtime Thriller". Xavier University. Retrieved 2015-11-21.
  7. ^ "Cincinnati-Xavier rivalry game likely to continue".
  8. ^ Xavier vs. Cincinnati - Game Recap - December 19, 2012- ESPN
  9. ^ Xavier vs. Cincinnati - Play-By-Play - February 18, 2015 - ESPN
  10. ^ Russell, Shannon (December 12, 2015). "Xavier tops UC, moves to 10–0 with Crosstown Shootout win". Retrieved June 6, 2017.
  11. ^ Xavier vs. Cincinnati - Game Recap - January 26, 2017 - ESPN
  12. ^ Cincinnati vs. Xavier - Game Summary - December 2, 2017 - ESPN
  13. ^ Greer, Jeff (March 27, 2018). "Louisville hires Chris Mack as new men's basketball coach". Courier Journal. Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  14. ^ "Crosstown Shootout: A Cincinnati Tradition". Retrieved 17 April 2012.
  15. ^ "Crosstown Shootout: A Cincinnati Tradition".
  16. ^ O'Neil, Dana. "Great rivalries are made of this..."
  17. ^ "Unofficial Crosstown Shootout Website".