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Xavier-Cincinnati brawl results in eight suspensions; Criminal charges could be filed [VIDEO]

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An intense rivalry boiled over Saturday, as players from the Xavier and Cincinnati men's basketball teams turned to fisticuffs at the end of their game. Suspensions were handed down Sunday and now an Ohio prosecutor is considering filing criminal charges against certain players involved.

Four players from each school were suspended for their actions in a brawl that marred the end of a heated contest. Cincinnati senior Yancy Gates, junior Cheikh Mbodj and freshman Octavius Ellis received six-game suspensions, while freshman Ge'Lawn Guyn was handed a single game suspension. For Xavier, star senior guard Tu Holloway was given a one-game suspension. Freshman Dez Wells and sophomore Landen Amos garnered four-game suspensions and junior Mark Lyons will miss two games.

The trouble started late in Saturday's game, a game won handily by Xavier. Holloway, who scored 17 points for the Musketeers, added a lay-up with under 30 seconds remaining. On his way back down the court, he appeared to say some words toward the Cincinnati bench. When Guyn took exception and approached Holloway, the Xavier guard shoved Guyn, leading to a chaotic scene in front of the Bearcats bench.

Some of the most egregious acts in the brawl were taken by Cincinnati's Gates and Mbodj. Gates threw a vicious right-handed punch to the face of Xavier's Kenny Frease, opening up a gash under his left eye. Mbodj was caught by cameras stomping on Frease, who was attempting to get off the floor.

While Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin expressed embarrassment and vowed to take a hardline approach after the game, no players have been kicked off the team as of yet, and the Big East has said they will not dole out further punishments.

Holloway further exacerbated the situation by taking the stand for a postgame press conference in which he referred to his team as "a whole bunch of gangsters." It was this comment that led to his suspension.

The development Monday came from the office of Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters, who said he would be examining the incident to see if any criminal charges needed to be filed. While no specific charges or players were mentioned, possibilities include assault and battery or disorderly conduct.

Criminal charges for actions on an athletic field are rare, but past transgressions in the hockey rink have led to assault charges. Ron Artest, Stephen Jackson and three of their Indiana Pacers teammates were criminally charged for their actions in the infamous "Malace at the Palace" brawl in 2004, in which Artest entered the stands and attacked fans in Detroit.

The Xavier and Cincinnati rivalry received some fuel before the game when Cincinnati sophomore guard Sean Kilpatrick stated that he did not believe Holloway could start for the Bearcats. Holloway's emotion at the end of the game may have had something to do with Kilpatrick's slight.

The game Saturday was the 79th meeting between the two teams, but after the brawl that took place, coaches are unsure if an 80th matchup will be played next season.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

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