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No. 24 Xavier Romps Duquesne 93-71

CINCINNATI -- When No. 24 Xavier gets into transition, James Posey gets to be a star.

Xavier's most gifted player got plenty of chances Tuesday night and took advantage of nearly every one. He scored a career-high 25 points, most of them on dunks and layups, and matched his career high with 15 rebounds in a 93-71 victory over Duquesne.

"Posey is just a phenomenal player," Duquesne coach Scott Edgar said. ``He can just beat you in so many ways. It looks like he has really worked a lot on his perimeter game because he's really shooting the ball."

He Got a lot of chances to shoot because Xavier's defense kept getting the ball back. The Musketeers (13-5, 5-3 Atlantic 10) forced 28 turnovers and scored 50 points in the paint.

Posey was 10-of-15 from the field, 4-of-4 from the foul line and hit his only 3-point attempt. He was prouder of his work under the boards, which included eight offensive rebounds.

"Coach (Skip Prosser) said this week that rebounding was going to be very important," Posey said. "In the first half, they hurt us on second shots. In the second half, we tried to come out and take that away."

Xavier overcame two season-long problems -- poor shooting against zone defenses and letdowns in the second half -- as they made up for their only home loss of the last two seasons.

Xavier had won its last 15 games since losing to Duquesne (8-12, 3-5) at Cincinnati Gardens last January, and made sure that there would be no chance for a repeat.

"They're the only team that has beat us on our home court," Posey said. "We wanted to come out and make sure that didn't happen again."

Xavier had 10 steals and forced 17 turnovers while pulling away to a 52-32 halftime lead. Its varied defenses -- full-court press, half-court traps -- held the Dukes to 31 percent shooting over the first 18 minutes.

Mike James, the Duke's leading scorer at 19.1 points per game, was only 4-of-17 from the field and finished with 14 points. Nick Bosnic scored 16 points for Duquesne, which has allowed 90 points five times this season.

By bouncing back from its weekend loss in Dayton, Xavier preserved its streak of not losing consecutive games for two years.

"It's important to get back on track like that," said Darnell Williams, who scored 15 points despite missing two minutes in the first half because of lower back spasms. "We needed to get back to playing like that -- up and down, not slowing it down."

Xavier has struggled against zone defenses for most of the season because of erratic long-range shooting. Duquesne opened in a zone and Xavier hit five 3-pointers while pulling away in the first 10 minutes.

Gary Lumpkin, Lenny Brown and Williams hit consecutive 3s to start a 15-point run that made it 22-7. Lumpkin hit a 3-pointer and Posey had a layin, a dunk and a layup in a 9-0 spurt over one minute that pushed the lead to 25 points midway through the half.

Bosnic's 3-pointer got the lead down to 52-37 at the start of the second alf, but Xavier pulled away again, pushing the lead to 29 points before the backups took over with 4:00 left.

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