Thursday, December 16, 1999

All-Time Crosstown Shootout Teams

        G: Oscar Robertson (1958-60): Probably the greatest Shootout player ever, and certainly the greatest player who ever played for either school. The Big O averaged 32 points and 15.3 rebounds against Xavier and led the Bearcats to a 4-0 record in three seasons.

        G: Ron Bonham (1962-64): A big-time shot-maker, Bonham led UC to three straight wins, averaging 21 points per game in the years of their back-to-back national championships.

        C: Danny Fortson (1995-97): Known for stepping up in big games, Fortson did in the Shootout, averaging 24.7 points and 11 rebounds in three games.

        F: Wayne Stevens (1956-58): He lived for the Shootout, stepping up like no other game. In five games against XU, Stevens averaged 13.4 points and 12.8 rebounds, both more than his career averages.

        F: Jack Twyman (1952-55): Twyman averaged 16.4 points and 14 rebounds in seven Shootouts. The only knock is that the Bearcats were just 4-3 in those games. Take away a cameo appearance as a freshman in which Twyman didn't score, and his averages against XU jump to 19.2 points and 16.3 rebounds.

        Sixth man: Joe Stiffend (1984-87). A narrow pick over Louis Banks, and a sentimental pick at that — Stiffend never scored in double figures in the Shootout and his teams lost his first three games. But as a senior, the forward hit one of the biggest shots in the rivalry's history, a 17-foot jumper at the buzzer to give UC a 75-73 win. He is still the only Bearcat to hit a last-second, game-winning shot against Xavier.

        Coach: Ed Jucker (1960-65). Best winning percentage (113-28, .801) in UC history included 5-0 record vs. Xavier. His .917 career winning percentage (11-1) in the NCAA Tournament is a record.

        G: Byron Larkin (1984-88): Larkin averaged 21.5 points in four games against the Bearcats and went 3-1 in those contests. He scored in double-digits every time. He is Xavier's all-time leading scorer (2,696 points).

        G: Steve Thomas (1962-66): Thomas makes the team just because of his 45-point night in March 1964, when he set a Cincinnati Gardens scoring record in an XU loss. Thomas had scored 29 points against the Bearcats the previous year. He is Xavier's No. 6 all-time scorer.

        C: Dave Piontek, 6-8 (1953-56): Piontek's 29 points helped the Musketeers upset the Bearcats, led by Jack Twyman, in 1955. He scored 19 points in the 1956 game and is Xavier's No. 18 all-time scorer and No. 4 all-time rebounder.

        F: Tyrone Hill (1986-90): Hill averaged a double-double in four games against the Bearcats (14.2 points, 12.8 rebounds) while going 2-2. As a sophomore, he went for 18 points and 17 boards, as a junior 14 and 15 and as a senior 20 and 11. Hill is XU's No. 2 all-time scorer and No. 1 all-time rebounder.

        F: James Posey (1996-99): Posey gets the nod over Brian Grant (10.3 ppg, 10.5 rpg) mostly because we needed a small forward, and because of Posey's versatility he could play several positions. He also could spend some time guarding the Big O. And, Posey went 2-1 against UC (Grant was 1-3), averaging 12.3 points and 9.7 rebounds.


        Sixth man: Lenny Brown (1995-99): Brown will forever be named to any all-Xavier team as it relates to the Shootout. His jump shot that upset then-No. 1 UC in November 1996 may be the biggest shot in series history. In four games against the Bearcats, Brown averaged 18.8 points. He is Xavier's No. 3 all-time scorer and career steals and 3-point field goals leader.

        Coach Bob Staak (1979-85): The only coach in Xavier history to hold a winning record against UC, Staak was 4-2 against the Bearcats. Ned Wulk (1951-57) and George Krajack (1967-71) were .500. Pete Gillen was 4-5 and Skip Prosser is 2-3.

        EDITOR'S NOTE: Players were judged on their performance in the UC-Xavier series, not careers as a whole. They were selected by Enquirer basketball writers Michael Perry and Mike DeCourcy with input from other Enquirer staffers and the sports information departments at the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University.


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