Syracuse tops AP poll

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Suspended Cincinnati forward Yan­cy Gates apologized to everyone, from his family to his hometown, for throwing punches that left much more than just a bloody gash below the eye of a Xavier player.

Then, he wept.

The Bearcats made their four suspended players attend a news conference Monday to apologize for their part in a brawl that ended eighth-ranked Xavier’s 76-53 victory on Satur­day.

Gates flattened Xavier’s Kenny Frease with a blindside punch. Frease got a cut below the left eye and fell to the court, where he was kicked by another Cincinnati player.

“I’m just not that type of person,” Gates said Monday, his eyes tearing. “A lot of people have been calling me a thug, a gangster …”

Gates then lowered his head and wiped away tears before covering his eyes with his warmup shirt and crying.

Four players from each team have been suspended. Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin said Monday that the suspended players will get anger-management counseling and do community service as part of their punishment.

The local prosecutor said in a statement Monday that he would determine whether any criminal charges are appropriate.

POLLS: Syracuse jumped from third to No. 1 after losses this weekend by Kentucky and Ohio State. It received 51 first-place votes from the 65-member national media panel.

It’s the fourth time the Orange have topped the poll and the first time since a one-week appearance late in 2009-10.

CHAMINADE: The former assistant basketball coach who resigned after sending a text message to a player containing a racial slur has apologized. Mike Mathey said in a statement that he’s sorry “from the bottom of my heart.” He said the text message was not meant to be degrading.

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