Men's basketball opens A-10 season with win at Rhode Island

Senior guards Sato and Chalmers lead team to 81-67 conference win | January 12, 2004

The Musketeers opened the 2004 Atlantic 10 Conference season with their fourth straight victory, an impressive 81-67 win at the University of Rhode Island on Sunday. The win was also Xavier's 16th straight Atlantic 10 Conference regular season victory, having won its final 15 games last season after losing its A-10 opener, finishing 15-1 in A-10 play. Xavier raised its records to 1-0 in the conference and 9-4 overall, while Rhode Island fell to 1-1 in the A-10 and 12-4 overall. Xavier now has won nine consecutive games against Rhode Island.

The Musketeers got off to a slow start in this one, falling behind 19-9 just nine minutes into the contest. Xavier senior guard Lionel Chalmers helped the team slowly chip away the Ram lead and then take the lead. In the final 11 minutes of the first half, Chalmers scored eight points and dished out two assists, while senior guard and All-American candidate Romain Sato contributed eight points as Xavier outscored Rhode Island 30-12, taking a 39-31 lead into halftime.

Sato extended Xavier's lead to 11 points, 42-31, with a three-pointer early in the second half, but the Rams answered with an 11-4 run to cut the lead to four points, 46-42, with 16:25 left on the clock. Then it was the Musketeers' turn to answer. Sato capped off a 6-0 Xavier run with a jumper to grab a 52-42 lead with 14:20 left. The Rams put together a 7-2 spurt to close the gap to five points, 54-49, at the 13:01 mark.

Xavier put the game away in the next four minutes with an impressive 11-2 run, capped off by a steal and breakaway dunk by senior forward Anthony Myles. The Musketeers led by 14 points, 65-51, with nine minutes left and never allowed the Rams to get any closer than 11 points the rest of the game.

Sato led the team with 22 points to go with five rebounds and three assists, while Chalmers finished with 21 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals. Two other Musketeers just missed recording "double-doubles" in scoring-rebounding. Myles had 15 points, nine rebounds and two steals, while freshman forward Justin Doellman had 12 points to go with a trio of career highs: nine rebounds, three assists and two blocks.

Rhode Island junior guard Dawan Robinson led all scorers with 23 points.

Xavier visits Duquesne University on Wednesday, Jan. 14, at 7:30 p.m. in a game that will be broadcast on Fox Sports Net Ohio. For more information, visit the athletics web site.