Sunday, December 8, 2002

Shootout Notebook

Handshake flap revisited

By Dustin Dow and Bill Koch
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Nine years ago, it was University of Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins who refused to shake Xavier coach Pete Gillen's hand after the Crosstown Shootout.

On Saturday, after XU's 50-44 victory over UC at Shoemaker Center, Handshake Game II took place, but this time it was the Bearcats' players complaining because the Musketeers didn't shake their hands.

"We're supposed to shake hands," UC forward Leonard Stokes. "Guys run off the floor and don't shake your hand. That's the thing that hurts the worst about losing this game.

"It's respect. If you're supposed to shake hands, go shake hands. If you don't like people, don't show it in that way. But you know, that's life."

XU senior David West said the Musketeers' failure to shake hands wasn't meant as a slight to UC's players.

"I guess you're supposed to shake hands, but that was a big, big win for us," West said. "I was just caught up in the excitement. I wasn't worried about their guys as much as I was congratulating my teammates."

For the record, Huggins and XU coach Thad Matta did shake hands.

JUCKER HONORED: Before the game, UC athletic director Bob Goin honored former Bearcats coach Ed Jucker by naming Shoemaker Center's playing surface "Ed Jucker Court."

Jucker, who died Feb.2, coached UC to its only two national championships in 1961 and 1962, and narrowly missed becoming the first coach to win three in a row when the Bearcats lost to Loyola of Chicago in the 1963 national title game.

Jucker was 113-28 in five seasons as UC's head coach.

STREAK ENDS: XU's victory ended a 20-game home-court winning streak for UC. The Bearcats' last home loss was to Marquette on Feb.18, 2001. The Golden Eagles won that game, 66-63 in overtime.

DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE: Former Xavier coach Bob Staak attended Saturday's game. It was the first time Staak watched a Shootout in person that he wasn't coaching.

"I'm glad it's going to the point where both schools have facilities like the Cintas Center and Shoemaker Center where they can have a true home-and-home series," Staak said.

Staak coached the Musketeers from 1979-85 and went 4-2 against UC. He is credited with being the coach who made the Shootout competitive.

Xavier has a 13-11 record against the Bearcats since he began coaching, which Staak admitted is a point of pride for him.

"There is (pride), yeah," Staak said. "I had a lot of help, though."

HANDLE WITH CARE: Xavier had an even turnover-to-assist ratio with 10 turnovers and 10 assists. UC, however, fared worse by committing nine turnovers to just five assists.

NEW GUY: Xavier center Anthony Myles only scored six points in his first Crosstown Shootout, but he can be credited with a lot more.

Myles' deft passing directly led to consecutive West layups early in the second half. One was a lob pass from the top of the key, and the second was a touch pass that West caught and converted, giving the Musketeers a 29-22 lead with 17:28 remaining.

"He's a new guy," West said, "and I don't think he had any idea of what type of environment he was coming into and he played well."

RECORD LOWS: UC's 44 points were the fewest by a Xavier opponent since Matta's first win Nov.17, 2001 against Coastal Carolina, which scored 41 in a loss to the Musketeers.

"The score reflected what type of game this is," West said. "This game usually isn't high scoring."

THROWBACK GAME: The only Crosstown Shootouts with fewer points scored than Saturday's 50-44 XU win were UC's 53-39 win in 1945-56, XU's 51-37 win in 1942-43 and XU's 29-25 win in 1927-28, the first game of the series.

It was the first time since Jan.10, 2001 against Marquette that UC had scored fewer than 50 points. The 50 points were the fewest by an XU team since a 59-49 loss to Massachusetts on Feb.14, 2001 and its fewest in a win since a 41-40 decision win over Tulsa on Jan.25, 1951.

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