CINCINNATI (Ticker) -- Even in a disappointing season, there is something about Cincinnati that brings out the best in Xavier.
Lionel Chalmers scored 20 points, including a fallaway jumper with 27 seconds remaining, as the Musketeers continued their recent success in the "Crosstown Shootout" with a thrilling 71-69 upset of the 10th-ranked Bearcats.
"We had a home-court advantage tonight," Chalmers said. "The fans were unbelievable. We still have the (city) crown for another year."
Arguably the most disappointing team in the Atlantic 10 Conference, Xavier (11-9) beat Cincinnati for the second straight year and has won six of the last eight meetings against its archrival.
"Lionel Chalmers is one of the best human beings that I have ever coached," Xavier coach Thad Matta said. "It's unfortunate that people don't understand the commitment he's made to the university."
The Bearcats shut down Romain Sato, the Musketeers' leading scorer, but Chalmers stepped up to hit a jumper from just inside the 3-point line on the right wing.
"I saw a guy on me," Chalmers said. "I created some space and knocked it down."
After Chalmers' jumper gave the Musketeers a 70-69 lead, the Bearcats did not get a shot on their next possession as Nick Williams threw the ball over the head of Armien Kirkland with 4.9 seconds left.
"We're soft," Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins said. "I've said that from day one."
Sato, who added 18 points for Xavier, hit 1-of-2 free throws after an intentional foul with 2.2 seconds left. The Musketeers retained possession and time expired following the inbounds pass.
"We needed a win so bad," Sato said. "Every day we want to get better."
Tony Bobbitt scored 17 points for the slumping Bearcats (15-3), who have dropped two straight and three of five following a 13-0 start.
"Everyone was running around and saying how good we were," Huggins said. "I've said our half-court defense is as bad as any team I've had. Our half-court offense is bad."
Coming off an 86-83 home loss to Charlotte, Cincinnati seemed on the verge of blowing out Xavier early, opening a 25-14 lead on Williams' 3-pointer with 7:45 left in the first half.
Xavier ended the half with a 23-7 spurt and build its advantage to 40-32 on Justin Doellman's three-point play 21 seconds into the second half.
Led by Eric Hicks, who recorded a career-high eight blocks, the Bearcats finally got back to playing the stifling defense for which they are known. Cincinnati grabbed a 66-61 lead on Jason Maxiell's two foul shots with 4:15 left but could not close it out.