by David Cassilo / @dcassilo

Cincinnati was supposed to lose by now. Their schedule wasn’t particularly daunting, but somewhere, the Bearcats were expected to trip up. 15-0? Not happening.

All wrong.

The Bearcats continued their undefeated start on Thursday, destroying their rival Xavier with a 66-46 victory. Yancy Gates dominated the inside for Cincinnati, scoring a season-high 22 points and grabbing a career-high 14 rebounds.

The win for Cincinnati marks the second-best start in school history, behind the 1998-99 season and the first time in its last four tries against its crosstown rival.

For Head Coach Mick Cronin, the difference was obvious — the play of Gates.

From The News Record:

“It was quite obvious that Yancy Gates decided it was time to win a Crosstown Shootout,” said Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin. “When we got him the ball we got more separation and made them defend him inside. We got more points in the paint, got ourselves to the foul line and put some pressure on their defense which settled our offense down. But he was definitely the difference on the offensive end tonight.”

Next up for the Bearcats is a chance to really legitimize their hot start with a trip to Villanova. It will be Cincinnati’s first game against a ranked team this season and a real test to see how it will fare in a loaded Big East.