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Sato hits school-record nine 3s; Xavier's streak at 9

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Romain Sato made a school-record nine
3-pointers, taking advantage of Rhode Island's fixation on David
West, and Xavier (No. 16 ESPN/USA Today, No. 18 AP) coasted to a 93-70 victory Saturday.

Xavier (18-4, 9-1 Atlantic 10) has won nine in a row and is
finally back to full strength after losing point guard Lionel
Chalmers to a broken foot on Dec. 31. Chalmers made his first start
Saturday since hurting his foot.

West scored 47 points last Saturday against Dayton, prompting
Rhode Island (15-7, 7-4) to target its defense inside. Sato took
advantage of the wide-open perimeter, matching his career high with
34 points and tying the A10 record with nine 3s.

West had 26 points and 16 rebounds, drawing fouls whenever he
went inside with the ball. He shot 12-for-15 from the line.

The preseason All-America has 17 double-doubles, the most in
Division I, and has reached double figures in points and rebounds
in 10 consecutive games.

Dawan Robinson scored 19 points for Rhode Island, which shot
only 32.5 percent from the field.

Rhode Island made sure it didn't duplicate Dayton's mistake of
trying to cover West with a straight-up man-to-man defense. His 47
points against the Flyers were the second-most in conference
history, and he had 18 rebounds as well.

The Rams double-teamed the 6-foot-9 power forward in their
man-to-man defense and used a packed-in zone to slow him down. He
still had 14 points and seven rebounds in the first half, when
Xavier led by as many as 22.

West averages 20.1 points and 12.4 rebounds, and is second on
the team in assists. He spent the opening minutes patiently passing
to open teammates for uncontested shots.

Sato made a pair of 3-pointers as Xavier opened with a 15-2 run.
Rhode Island missed 14 of its first 15 shots -- three of them were
blocked.

Sato also had a big game against Rhode Island last season,
scoring 24 points. He finished 11-of-20 from the field, including
9-of-16 on 3-point shots.

Xavier pushed the lead to 22 late in the first half, then went
soft on defense and let the Rams get back into the game. Lazare
Adingono hit a 3-pointer that started a closing seven-point run
before halftime.

For the sixth straight game, the Rams opened the second half
with a flurry -- this one a 14-7 run that cut the lead to 46-38.
Sato made five of his 3-pointers as Xavier built the lead to 26.

Chalmers, who had come off the bench in the last three games,
went to the bench after picking up a pair of fouls in the first 11
seconds. He finished with only two points, but his return to the
starting lineup marked Xavier's return to full strength.

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