Friday, January 29, 1999

ESPN barely gets the tip of Shootout




BY JOHN FAY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        ESPN dodged disaster and a possible blown switchboard at its headquarters in Bristol, Conn. Through fate and a slight stall, ESPN was able to join the Skyline Chili Crosstown Shootout, just as Xavier and Cincinnati tipped off from the Shoemaker Center Thursday night.

        The Wake Forest-North Carolina State game, which preceded the Shootout on ESPN, had six seconds left when XU and UC broke the huddle to start the game.

        But as time ran out on N.C. State's 70-59 victory, UC and Xavier milled around just long enough to give ESPN the time it needed.

        The network's picture popped up as the ball went in the air for the opening tip.

        If the early game ran long, ESPN would not have switched to XU-UC.

        So Cincinnati fans didn't miss any game action. What they did miss: the introductions, the National Anthem, the UC students going nuts before the game and all the other things that make the game special.

        When Xavier and UC play, its deserves the special treatment a local station would give it.

        Once ESPN joined the game, the network did fine. Bob Carpenter and Quinn Buckner were familiar with both teams and the rivalry.

        The network was impressed with the game. Studio host Chris Fowler said he saw more intensity than in Wednesday's Duke-North Carolina game.

        CHANNEL 9 STEPS UP: Channel 9 filled the void by putting on a pregame show. One of the best things about the Shootout is seeing all those old clips that stir memories of Shootouts past.

        TALK TALK: Thursday was a great day to host a talk radio show. All you had to do was open the phone lines and let caller after caller pick the winner of Shootout. It made for entertaining radio and showed just how deep the roots of this rivalry run.

        SportsTalk on WLW, with Terry Nelson, Steve Wolf and Anthony Buford, was particularly entertaining. I loved Wolf's story about Bob Staak after Xavier broke a nine-game losing skid. “We own this team,” Staak allowed.

        ESPN VS. LOCAL II: My column from Monday prompted reaction from readers. Of the 15 or so people who called, they were split between people outraged the game was cable-only and people who were outraged 38 percent of people in this town don't have cable.

        Let me clarify one thing, I think it's great the game has gone national. My point was it's so big it ought to be shown on a local station, as well.

        Channel 19 offered that option to ESPN and was basically blown off.

        The fact is there are a certain number of people out there who cannot afford cable or cannot get it.

        The game deserves to be shown from tipoff to final buzzer. Actually, it deserves a pregame, halftime and postgame show.

        John Fay covers radio/TV sports for The Enquirer. He can be reached at 768-8445.

GAME STORY
Box score
Shootout best game in town
Martin, Horton key UC
Guards kept XU kicking
Logan large for UC
CROSSTOWN NOTEBOOK
ESPN barely gets the tip of Shootout


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MIAMI NOTEBOOK
Wyoming star picks OSU
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KENTUCKY WESLEYAN 69, NKU 65
Doran team ready to rock around the clock in Daytona
HOCKEY TONIGHT
shootout logo
Cincinnati 87,
Xavier 77

UC LEADERS

• Points: Levett 23, Logan 17
• Rebounds: Martin 8, Levett 7
• Blocks: Martin 6
• Steals: Horton, Mickeal, Tate 2
• Assists: Horton 8

XU LEADERS
• Points: Lumpkin 25, Brown 21
• Rebounds: Posey 12
• Blocks: Price 2
• Steals: Price 4
• Assists: Price 4

Game coverage
GAME STORY
Box score
Download photos for wallpaper
Shootout best game in town
Martin, Horton key UC
Guards kept XU kicking
Logan large for UC
Notebook: Scalpers get rich
ESPN barely gets the tip of Shootout

Season's coverage
Nice job, UC; now play UAB
Dayton next for XU
BEARCATS PAGE
XAVIER PAGE