By Dustin Dow
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Xavier hopes to have senior point guard Lionel Chalmers back in the lineup by Feb. 1 for a game at Richmond. But if Chalmers' right foot doesn't heal in time, the Musketeers are rolling along fine without him.
Xavier, ranked 24th in the USA Today/ESPN coaches' poll, posted its fourth straight win, 93-58 Tuesday against hot-shooting Duquesne in front of a sold-out Cintas Center crowd of 10,250.
Xavier (13-4, 4-1 Atlantic 10) broke open a tight game in the first half with a 13-2 run over the final 4:29, much of it without the services of freshman point guard Dedrick Finn, who was on the bench with two fouls.
Junior forward Romain Sato assumed control of the ball and scored six of Xavier's points during the run. Center Anthony Myles and David West did plenty of damage down low. Myles made five of seven shots in the first half as he led Xavier with 12 points; he finished with a career-high 16 points.
"Most teams focus their defense on West," Myles said. "Once I start going, double-teaming David isn't an option for them."
West played with a bandage on his right hand, covering a knuckle on his index finger that he bruised in practice Monday when his hand hit the rim. The bandage limited his motion, but he managed to score nine first-half points and finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds.
Xavier's offense came alive in the second half. Five players finished in double-figure scoring, led by Sato's 18 points. Walk-on guard Keenan Christiansen came close to getting into double figures for the first time in his career, finishing with nine points, including six free throws. After Christiansen hit a 3-pointer with 5:30 left, Xavier never led by fewer than 30 points the rest of the game.
The difference was in assists and turnovers. Xavier had 20 assists and seven turnovers; Duquesne had seven assists and 17 turnovers.
Duquesne (7-11, 1-4) forward Ron Dokes gave Xavier problems early. Dokes scored 16 points, 14 in the first half when the Dukes made 50 percent of their field goals and led by as many as seven points. Dokes' tip-in with 10:11 to play in the first half gave Duquesne a 21-16 lead.
Xavier retook the lead minutes later, at 23-22, when Simplice Njoya intentionally fouled Sato on a dunk attempt.
"I went up to dunk the ball, and I just got punched right in the nose," Sato said.
He was unable to shoot the free throws, so Matta inserted Christiansen, who made both shots.
Keith Jackson was fouled on the ensuing possession and made both ends of a 1-and-1, giving Xavier a three-point lead. The teams traded baskets for the next four minutes until Xavier closed the half with its game-deciding run.
Team rebounds: 0.
Team rebounds: 4.
Attendance-10,250. 3-point goals-Duquesne 2-13 (Palmer 1-2, Tricco 0-3, Forney 1-2, McAllister 0-1, Samabaly 0-1, Njoya 0-2, Midgley 0-1, Bluemling 0-1); Xavier 6-8 (Sato 1-2, Finn 4-5, Christiansen 1-1). Technical fouls-None. Officials-Donato, Sanders, McConnell.
Xavier 93, Duquesne 58
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