The story that continues to dominate the news cycle is the end of Saturday’s Crosstown Shootout. You know the story. You’ve seen the video, I’m sure.
The officiating crew had a chance to prevent what happened and the three referees assigned to the game failed to do so. I’m sure each is qualified college basketball official. But together on Saturday, they had a chance to defuse a situation that was boiling over, and they did not. Mike Anderson apparently has worked some Xavier games. He was one of the three. But the other two were strangers. One reportedly works a lot of games in the MAAC, a smaller division one league with schools like Fairfield, Canisius and Seina. The third official apparently works in the Patriot League, schools like American University and Bucknell. Whoever is responsible for assigning these three to this game did a great disservice, to the game and to the officiating crew. The game simply got away from them. This game needs local officials, qualified to officiate in the Big East and the Atlantic 10 . It needs officials who understand what this rivalry is all about. This crew allowed far too much jawing on the court and failed to control it as halftime began, when technical fouls should have been slapped on players on both benches and a stern admonishment for both head coaches. Having a halftime to relate the seriousness of ‘that’ punishment to their teams is something the coaches should have had the chance to do. They didn’t, because in part, the three referees refused to adequately handle the situation.
But hanging what happened on the three game officials isn’t totally fair. There has to be some personal responsibility and accountability for what happened at the Cintas Center Saturday.
Number one: you never, as in ever, throw a punch in game. Ever. Unless the sport is boxing or MMA, you just don’t do that. What Yancy Gates did was nothing short of horrible. Being goaded by the other team or watching a team mate get shoved to the court by an opposing player is no excuse to go medevil on another player. End of story. I would not be shocked if Gates never plays again for the University of Cincinnati. If you’re Dr. Greg Williams and you’re entrusted to operate a major university that has, among other things, a world class college of nursing, computer design, college of pharmacy and graduates some of the most gifted musicians in the world, do you really want your school’s calling card to feature one of you students rearranging another person’s facial features? Do you teach that along with how to plathe oboe?
This isn’t letting Xavier off the hook by any means. It was quite evident from re-watching this game that some of their players spent far too much time conversing with the University of Cincinnati bench. And by the way, who’s bright idea was it to let those two kids, Mark Lyons and Tu Holloway loose in front of microphones in a post game news conference? If you’re really concerned about your school’s image, doesn’t somebody, like the Sports Information Director or the Athletic Director get to the two of them before they talk to what turned out to be a national audience? ESPN, CNN pick any letter combination in the alphabet, they all televised the remarks that Lyons and Holloway had, which were nothing short of a cut rate version of the WWE.
By the way, I paid for my son to be educated by the Jesuits. I think I’m on pretty firm ground here. “Gangsta” and “Zip ‘em Up” are not part of the Jesuit experience. Maybe Father Graham might want to let a few people at his school know about that before the weekend is over. A little background on Ignatius of Loyola might be in order for his basketball team. Maybe some readings from the Spiritual Exercise would help today
That game yesterday wasn’t played at the Rucker playground in New York, which if you heard Lyons and Holloway talk after the game is apparently their home base. It wasn’t played at Juiliffs Park in Anderson Township. It was played in what’s become one of the great basketball arenas in the country, at a university that’s the sixth oldest catholic university in the country. John Boehner Ken Blackwell, Jim Bunning, US congressmen and federa judges have degrees from Xavier. Bet their buttons are poppin’ today. Zip ‘em up.
As repugnant as that was yesterday, and if you don’t think it’s a black eye for both schools and the city of Cincinnati, you’re having trouble dealing with reality, there a great teaching lesson here. Unfortunately, the man who delivered it best died over 20-years ago. It was Paul Brown who once said, when you win say nothing. When you lose, say less. Both of our city’s major college basketball teams might want to display that in the locker rooms.