CINCINNATI (AP) - Jeff Robinson wasn't making up for lost time even though he played like it.
The sophomore forward, making his first start in 19 games, scored a career-high 22 points and No. 25 Xavier rolled to a 100-62 victory over La Salle on Thursday night.
Robinson started in place of Mark Lyons, who was being disciplined, coach Chris Mack said.
``Mark made a boneheaded decision,' Mack said. ``Jeff made a statement. He was who he's been in practice the past couple of weeks. That's the best I've ever seen him.'
Robinson simply carried over his practice effort, he said.
``I guess (Mack) saw the energy I've had in practice and over the last few games,' he said. ``I guess he had confidence that I would step up.'
Tu Holloway, who became the first player in Xavier history with two career triple-doubles with his second on Saturday against Fordham, finished a rebound short of his third. He set a career high with 15 assists to go with 12 points and nine rebounds before leaving with 2:36 left in the game.
``It was hard,' Holloway said about getting so close. ``Few players get one triple-double in their career, and that was going to be my third. I'm not going to lie to you. I really wanted it, but we got the win and we got better as a team. That's what's important.'
Mack resisted the temptation to leave Holloway in the game.
``I was conflicted,' he said. ``Five thousand people wanted me to keep him in, 5,000 thought it was better to take him out. You don't know what the right thing to do is. I gave him one shot. I put him in with about 4 1/2 minutes left for about a minute. He was phenomenal. One rebound isn't going to take away from an incredible game. He was lobbying hard, and his teammates were backing him up like a Cabinet.'
Lyons came off the bench to score 15 points, Jamel McLean had 12 and Kenny Frease and Jay Canty each finished with 10 for the Musketeers (21-6, 12-1), who have won six straight and 13 of 14. Xavier extended its record streak of conference home wins to 39.
Xavier, winner of the last four A-10 regular-season championships, extended its lead to a full game over Temple and two over Richmond with three to play. The Musketeers clinched one of the four byes in the conference tournament.
Tyreek Duren scored 18 points to lead the Explorers (12-16, 4-9), who have lost three straight and four of their last five. They were allowing more points per game (78.7) than any other A-10 team going into the game, while Xavier was leading the league in scoring in conference games (77.2).
La Salle coach John Giannini couldn't remember being involved in that kind of lopsided loss.
``It was the most non-competitive game that I've been a part of since I started playing basketball when I was a 13-year-old or 12-year-old,' he said. ``I can't explain it, but it happened. It was (non-competitive) immediately from the first possession.'
Robinson, making his first start since Xavier's non-conference win over Butler on Dec. 9, had six points, a rebound and a blocked shot in the first 4 minutes. He scored 13 points to lead the Musketeers to a 52-20 halftime lead.
The 52 points were the most in any first half since they scored 61 on the way to a 108-70 win over Virginia on Jan. 3, 2008. The half was Xavier's most prolific since the 63-point second half of a 108-60 win over Fordham on Jan. 31, 2010 - the last time Xavier reached triple figures.
Xavier, coming off a sluggish performance in Saturday's 79-72 win over a Fordham team that's winless in conference play, made 11 of its first 14 shots and shot 64 percent (16 of 25) in the first half while leading by as much as 52-18 on a 3-pointer by Holloway with 24 seconds left before halftime. The Musketeers were 15 of 15 on free throws.
La Salle shot 24 percent (6 of 25) in the first half while scoring the fewest points in any half this season.
Robinson tied his career high with a jumper that gave Xavier a 61-23 lead with 17:32 left and he surpassed it with a dunk on the next possession.
The Associated Press News Service
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