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Suspensions gut Xavier for Diamond Head Classic

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CINCINNATI » Eight suspensions, more apologies. Players from Cincinnati and No. 8 Xavier received the consequences of their on-court brawl that left both programs with a black eye.

A lot of them will be sitting and watching for a while, including on Xavier’s upcoming trip to Hawaii.

Cincinnati forward Yancy Gates got a six-game suspension on Sunday for throwing punches, and seven other players were disciplined for their roles in a brawl that ended the annual crosstown rivalry game.

Four Bearcats and four Musketeers were suspended in all. Three Cincinnati players got six-game suspensions, the longest of those handed out.

Xavier (8-0) handed out penalties that will extend through the Musketeers’ appearance at the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii over Christmas. They are off next week for finals, and resume on Sunday at home against Oral Roberts. The following three games are in Hawaii.

Gates is Cincinnati’s top frontcourt player. He’ll miss games against Wright State, Radford, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Chicago State and Oklahoma, as well as the Bearcats’ Big East opener at Pittsburgh, the only conference game affected.

Cincinnati consulted with the Big East about the penalties.

The Bearcats also gave Cheikh Mbodj and Octavius Ellis six-game suspensions. Ge’Lawn Guyn was suspended for one game. The university planned to make them available for comment today.

Gates punched Xavier’s Kenny Frease in the face, causing a nasty gash below his left eye, and hit at least one other Musketeer during the fracas on Saturday, which prompted the referees to call Xavier’s

76-53 win with 9.4 seconds left.

Xavier suspended point guard Tu Holloway for one game, guard Mark Lyons for two, and Dez Wells and Landen Amos for four games each.

Frease was the most badly injured, getting punched and kicked. He had blood streaming from the cut beneath his left eye and was woozy after the game. X-rays were normal.

The brawl damaged both schools’ reputations and prompted repeated apologies.

It started in the closing seconds when Holloway talked to the Cincinnati bench. Cincinnati’s Sean Kilpatrick had said during the week leading up to the game that Holloway wasn’t good enough to start for the Bearcats.

Holloway wanted the last word, and said things to coaches and players on the Cincinnati bench with the clock stopped at 9.4 seconds. Guyn was standing by Holloway and pushed him in the face. Wells responded by pushing down Guyn. Gates was holding the ball and threw it at Holloway’s head, prompting both benches to clear.

At a news conference on Sunday, Holloway took responsibility for instigating it.

"Coach (Chris) Mack always reminds me, ‘You’re a leader of this team. The young guys are going to do what you’re going to do,’ " Holloway said. "If I would’ve never talked to (UC’s) bench or if I wouldn’t have said anything to their players, maybe Dez Wells wouldn’t be suspended four games. The result of what I did, I kind of brought him down, I brought Mark Lyons down, I brought the rest of my teammates down because of what I did out there on the floor."

Players went at each other in the scrum. As the fight wound down, Gates stood by the Cincinnati bench with fists raised in a boxing pose.

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