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Brown helps Xavier roll past La Salle

Jan 19, 2009 - 12:24 AM CINCINNATI (Ticker) -- Derrick Brown scored 10 of his 15 points in the first half as 16th-ranked Xavier coasted to a 73-53 rout of La Salle.

Behind the smooth Brown and a suffocating defense, the Musketeers (15-2, 4-0 A-10) had no trouble in rolling to another lopsided win in league play.

Brown glided to the basket for a handful of layups in the first half as the Musketeers built a commanding 39-22 advantage at the break. The 6-8 junior made 5-of-7 shots in the opening 20 minutes and went 7-of-10 overall from the floor.

B.J. Raymond added 11 of his 16 points in the second half for Xavier, which never trailed en route to its 18th straight conference win at the Cintas Center.

Freshman point guard Terrell Holloway provided one of the highlights of the first half, converting a four-point play which allowed the Musketeers to open their first double-digit lead just over 10 minutes into the contest.

Brown followed with a sweet hook in the lane and drove for an acrobatic layup, making it 24-10 with 8:02 left before intermission.

"The first four minutes of the first half, we played about as well as we can play," Xavier coach Sean Miller said. "We had some of the best ball movement we've had. We had a dominant performance, defensively, in the first half."

While the Musketeers got what they wanted on the offense end, they also were locking down the Explorers (9-7, 1-2), who seemed lost at times.

"To say that I was very impressed (with Xavier) would be an understatement," La Salle coach John Giannini said. "They're big; they're skilled; they're strong. They never get out of their defensive stance and lose their positioning. They pursue rebounds. I tip my hat to them. They're really good."

After Rodney Green threw down a dunk at the 12:40 mark of the first half, the Explorers went over five minutes before their next field goal. The drought allowed the Musketeers to take control.

The Explorers finished the first half with more turnovers (10) than baskets (nine) as they fell to 1-26 against ranked teams since 1996-97.

Xavier, which was coming off a 67-65 overtime triumph at Rhode Island on Thursday, has won its other three conference games by 72 points.

The Musketeers' margin of victory could have had been bigger in this one, but they struggled at the free-throw line. Overall, they went 19-of-36 (53 percent).

"It's something we've got to address," Xavier junior forward Jason Love said. "It will definitely come back and bite us in the future. You're not going to be home all the time and so you've got to stay focused."

Love held up his end, making all eight of his attempts from the stripe en route to finishing with 10 points. He also had nine rebounds and three blocks.

Green and Yves Mekongo Mbala each scored 15 points for La Salle, which has lost 14 of its last 16 meetings against Xavier.

"They're a bad matchup for us," Giannini said. "Most other teams we can get the ball inside. We don't see many guards like B.J. Raymond, who is 6-6 and 220. Usually our 6-5 guards can get the ball inside. They're big and physical at a high level. As a coach, the thing I'm most impressed with is that they're mentally strong. They react quickly."