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Updated: Saturday, December 7, 2002 8:13 PM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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(16) Xavier 50, Cincinnati 44
XAVIER (OH) MUSKETEERS
Xavier (OH) Musketeers
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CINCINNATI BEARCATS
Cincinnati Bearcats
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CINCINNATI (Ticker) -- David West responded to the challenge and proved that he can play inside.

West collected 23 points and 10 rebounds as No. 16 Xavier snapped Cincinnati's 20-game home winning streak and earned local bragging rights with a 50-44 victory in the Crosstown Shootout.

West is a preseason All-American and two-time Atlantic 10 Player of the Year for Xavier (4-1). But those credentials were not enough to impress Bearcats forward Jason Maxiell, who stoked the flames of one of the nation's fiercest rivalries with comments that West was not physical and did not like to play inside.

The senior forward was pleased with the result in his last matchup with Cincinnati.

"This is the last one for me," West said. "It was a good win in one of the toughest places to play."

The Musketeers rode West in the first half for a 25-20 lead as the power forward scored 13 points. Xavier took its largest lead at 33-22 on Anthony Myles' layup with just over 16 minutes remaining.

Meanwhile, Maxiell had eight points and 13 rebounds but was not a factor in containing West. West was the only player on either team to enjoy plenty of offensive success in a hard-hitting defensive battle and Maxiell did not have much to say afterward.

"We knew he was going to shoot a lot," Maxiell said. "The two of us didn't say a lot to each other."

Cincinnati (3-2) pulled within 44-42 on a 3-pointer by Field Williams with 29 seconds left. Xavier guard Dedrick Finn sank two free throws three seconds later for a four-point edge.

The Bearcats got the ball to Williams, who missed a 3-pointer in the left corner. The rebound came fittingly to West, who sank two foul shots with nine seconds left for the final margin.

"I thought our guys did a good job of keeping their composure in this environment," Xavier coach Thad Matta said. "We had to be mentally tough. We did a good job of keeping with them. It was a good win for us."

Romain Sato scored 12 points and Myles added six as Xavier's starting five did all of its scoring. Lionel Chalmers, who entered averaging 17.3 points, was held to five and Finn added four.

A 3-pointer by Sato triggered a 13-0 run that established a 17-6 lead midway through the first half. West showed Maxiell that he was comfortable inside and outside with a layup and a 3-pointer in the run.

The Bearcats were limited to a dismal seven baskets in the first half and made just 2-of-10 from beyond the arc.

"Both teams played really good defense and neither team could make shots," West said. "It was a real grind-it-out battle."

"We had some good looks, we just weren't hitting," Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins said. "We needed to penetrate and pitch more. We had the matchups we wanted, we just weren't taking advantage of them."

After Myles' basket opened up the only double-digit lead in the game, reserve Armein Kirkland's basket triggered nine straight points for the Bearcats. Leonard Stokes' layup cut the deficit to 33-31 with 11:34 left to play.

Stokes nailed a jumper to cut the deficit top 37-35 midway through the second half before Cincinnati went cold for nearly five scoreless minutes. The Bearcats managed just four baskets in the final 10 minutes.

"We took some bad shots, but we always defend, so that gives us a chance," Stokes said. "We have to rebound more and we have to find a way to score."

Stokes scored 13 points and Williams added 12 for Cincinnati, which shot 30 percent (18-of-60). The Bearcats made just 4-of-22 from beyond the arc. Their ball movement also left something to be desired as they finished with just five assists.

"We just need to make shots and take better shots," Huggins said. Xavier has won five of the last seven meetings with its main rival and have won three of the last four meetings at Shoemaker Center.


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