CINCINNATI - Xavier center Kenny Frease used a white cloth to soak up the blood streaming from a gash below his eye. Coaches from both teams bear-hugged their players and tried to yank them away from the bedlam.
The latest crosstown shootout got out of control Saturday and ended in bedlam, a few seconds early.
The repercussions haven't even started.
Eighth-ranked Xavier beat crosstown rival Cincinnati, 76-53, in a game that featured a steady stream of trash talk and was called with 9.4 seconds left when the teams got into a brawl in a corner of the court.
Words escalated into shoves and swings. Both benches cleared. Frease left the court with a stream of blood on his face after getting punched by Cincinnati's Yancy Gates and then kicked as he lay on the floor.
It left a black-and-blue mark on the annual rivalry. Suspensions are expected after the videotapes are reviewed. The Atlantic Ten, Big East, and the schools were examining the brawl.
"There's no excuse for any of them, on our side, on their side," Bearcats coach Mick Cronin said angrily. "Guys need to grow up."
"It was such a melee," Xavier coach Chris Mack said.
The last two games have been one-sided, leading to some heightened emotion. Cincinnati (5-3) won by 20 points on its home court last season, the most lopsided finish for one of the rivalry games in eight years. Xavier (8-0) answered with its second-biggest win in the series' history.
There's always a steady flow of trash talking in the games, and players have occasionally had to be pulled away from each other by referees and coaches. Saturday's brawl took all that to a new level.
Xavier guard Mark Lyons exchanged words with Cincinnati players as the teams passed each other on court and headed for the locker rooms at halftime, with the Musketeers ahead, 34-25. Xavier took control of the game by opening the second half with a 9-2 run, and led by double digits the rest of the way.
Xavier's Tu Holloway got open for a layup with 18.6 seconds left, and the players headed down court. Holloway said some things to the Cincinnati bench and got shoved, igniting the free-for-all - and the rumble was on.