CINCINNATI (AP) - Semaj Christon scored 18 points on Saturday, and Xavier overcame an early 11-point deficit to beat La Salle 70-63 and stay perfect in the Atlantic 10.
Xavier (11-6, 4-0) won its past three games without point guard Dee Davis, who sprained his left wrist in the first half of a 57-52 win over Temple. He returned on Saturday and had six points and seven assists.
Brad Redford added 13 points for Xavier, which has won four in a row for the first time this season.
La Salle (12-5, 2-2) is off to best start since the 1990-91 season. The Explorers have the league's top scoring duo in guard Ramon Galloway - 17.1 points per game, second in the A-10 - and guard Tyreek Duren at 15 points per game.
The two guards had trouble against the A-10's second-stingiest defense, combining to go 6 of 26 from the field. Tyrone Garland led the Explorers with 16 points.
The Musketeers have won without Davis by getting big games from Redford, who scored 21 and 17 points in the two previous games while making 15 of 25 from behind the arc. They also kept up the tough defense. Xavier is giving up only 60.8 points per game, second in the A-10.
La Salle got a scare when Galloway pulled up and grabbed his right hamstring with 12:15 left in the first half. He went to the sideline and stretched, and was still favoring the leg when he checked back into the game following a timeout a minute later. It didn't affect his shooting - he hit another long 3-pointer for a 20-9 lead midway through the half.
From there, the Explorers fell apart, getting only two more field goals the rest of the half.
Redford got Xavier's offense going, hitting a pair of 3s and a pair of free throws. Christon's pull-up jumper from the baseline completed a 16-5 spurt that tied it at 25. Jeff Robinson had three dunks in the final 2 minutes of the half for a 35-27 lead. The Explorers managed only three free throws in the final 6:52 of the half.
The field goal drought lasted more than 10 minutes overall. Christon's driving layup pushed the lead to 39-28 before Steve Zack's follow-up basket finally got La Salle a field goal at the 16:26 mark of the second half.
Xavier wasted chances to take control, missing 10 of its first 17 free throws.
Christon's two free throws made it 56-41 with 6:37 left, and the Musketeers pulled ahead by 18 points before emptying their bench. La Salle coach John Giannini got a technical for arguing calls.
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The Associated Press News Service
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