By Dustin Dow
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Lionel Chalmers' first start in more than 1 1/2 months lasted all of 11 seconds.
Xavier's senior guard, who on Saturday played in his fourth game since foot surgery, couldn't even wait for a shot attempt before he picked up two fouls. That sent him to the bench for much of the first half against Rhode Island.
Romain Sato runs the floor.
(Ernest Coleman photo)
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Officials whistled Chalmers for a foul two seconds into the game when he and the Rams' Brian Woodward became tangled just after the opening tip. Seconds later, Chalmers was called for bumping Woodward in the lane.
Eventually, Musketeers coaches reinserted Chalmers into the game, but he was called for a third first-half foul with 6:13 left, and spent the rest of the half on the sideline.
"That was unfortunate," said Xavier coach Thad Matta. "I told him when he came to the bench, `I'm going to play you in the first half with two fouls.' I thought he came back in and continued to do a nice job for us."
Chalmers lasted more than 10 minutes into the second half before picking up a fourth foul. He didn't foul out, and scored two points in 19 minutes with three assists and two turnovers.
Chalmers is likely to be a fixture in the Musketeers' starting lineup for the rest of the season. He started 43 straight games before he broke his foot in a Dec.31 game against Creighton and missed the next seven. In the four games since his return, Chalmers has averaged 6.3 points.
KEEPING PACE: Saturday's 93-70 victory keeps Xavier (18-4, 9-1 Atlantic 10) tied with Dayton in the A-10 loss column with one each. The Flyers (18-4, 10-1) have a half-game lead over the Musketeers following UD's win against Saint Joseph's.
Xavier and Dayton meet Feb.22 at University of Dayton Arena. The Musketeers defeated the Flyers 85-77 Feb.8 at Cintas Center.
BOARD ADVANTAGE: Rhode Island entered Saturday's game as the A-10's top offensive-rebounding team, grabbing more than 18 per game. The Rams grabbed 16 offensive boards Saturday, and totaled 36 rebounds.
But that didn't come close to the 50 boards XU's players grabbed. David West led the Musketeers with 16, while Romain Sato grabbed nine and Anthony Myles finished with eight rebounds to go with his 13 points. Xavier had 15 offensive rebounds, yiedling 12 second-chance points.
Xavier 93, Rhode Island 70
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