Cincy's Gates, two others suspended six games

Cincinnati senior forward Yancy Gates, along with freshman forward Octavius Ellis and junior center Cheikh Mbodj, have each been suspended six games for their roles during a brawl at the end of Saturday's game at Xavier.

Cincinnati also issued a one-game suspension to freshman guard Ge'Lawn Guyn, and the Big East fully supported the penalties handed down by the school.

"The very unfortunate events that occurred in the final seconds of Saturday's Cincinnati-Xavier basketball game have no place within intercollegiate athletics. The University of Cincinnati has responded with swift, expeditious and appropriate action," Big East commissioner John Marinatto said.

The benches-clearing melee erupted with under 10 seconds remaining, forcing officials to end the game early.

It started after Xavier's Dezmine Wells shoved Cincinnati's Guyn as the Bearcats freshman jawed with Xavier guard Tu Holloway near one of the baskets.

Players then came together in a scrum as officials and coaches tried to separate them.

Replays showed Gates connecting with a punch to the face of Xavier center Kenny Frease, who dropped to the floor. The blow opened a cut over Frease's left eye.

"After reviewing all available video and giving due deliberation to the seriousness of this behavior, we have decided to take these actions," said Cincinnati athletic director Whit Babcock. "We want to deal with this in a prompt and direct manner and send the message that we will not tolerate this from those who have the privilege of representing the University of Cincinnati."

The players with six-game suspensions will be eligible to return January 4 against Notre Dame.