CINCINNATI (AP) — Jeff Robinson of Xavier University 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 as #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 4½ 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.”
La Salle shot 24 percent (6 of 25) in the first half while scoring the fewest points in any half this season.
(Copyright 2011 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)