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Updated: Wednesday, January 15, 2003 12:02 AM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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(23) Xavier 80, La Salle 47
LA SALLE EXPLORERS
La Salle Explorers
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XAVIER (OH) MUSKETEERS
Xavier (OH) Musketeers
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CINCINNATI (Ticker) -- David West had 18 points and four blocked shots to lead No. 23 Xavier to an easy 80-47 victory over La Salle in Atlantic 10 Conference play.

West became the Musketeers' all-time leading shot-blocker with 198, surpassing Aaron Williams, who had 197. Williams is currently in the NBA with the New Jersey Nets.

"We played well," West said. "We played unselfishly. We played within our system. We shared the ball and guys were getting shots (to go) in."

West also had 15 rebounds and six assists. He shot 8-of-14 from the field.

Xavier (11-4, 2-1 A-10 West) has won back-to-back games since falling at Alabama and dropping its conference opener to Richmond. Anthony Myles added 14 points and Keith Jackson 11 for the Musketeers.

"I think the Richmond game brought us together," Myles said.

La Salle (7-6, 1-2) took an 11-6 lead early, but Xavier went on an 11-0 run during which West had four points and an assist. At halftime, West had 12 points and the Musketeers held a 38-21 lead.

"Tonight we started out a little bit slow and then got it started," Xavier coach Thad Matta said.

La Salle has gotten off to a rocky start in the Atlantic 10 after winning its previous three games. The Explorers lost at Dayton on January 8, but did not follow up well on Saturday's victory over George Washington.

Freshman Steven Smith was La Salle's only scorer in double figures with 16 points. The Explorers who shot just 26 percent (16-of-62) from the field, have lost four of six road games this season.

"We really didn't compete well tonight," La Salle coach Billy Hahn said. "I don't know why we couldn't make shots tonight. It probably had a lot to do with their defense."

The Explorers actually shot better from 3-point range than from the rest of the floor, hitting 27 percent (4-of-15) of their attempts from beyond the arc.

Xavier guard Romain Sato shot just 3-of-12 for eight points, but added nine rebounds. The Musketeers completed a three-game homestand.


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