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10-16, 2-8 Conf
55
Final
12T
FOR213455
XAV324577
77
21-2, 10-0 Conf

Xavier flusters Fordham from start to finish in victory

CINCINNATI -- A lopsided win left Xavier (No. 6 ESPN/USA Today, No. 7 AP) with work to do.

Amber Harris scored 18 points and the Musketeers never trailed in a 77-55 win over Fordham on Saturday that kept them unbeaten in the Atlantic 10 but less than pleased with their performance.

Xavier (21-2, 10-0) got ahead by 14 points in the first half, then eased up and let Fordham (10-16, 2-8) cut the lead to three late in the half. The Musketeers pulled out to a 32-21 lead at halftime, then put it away with an 18-0 run in the second half.

"We've just got to stop worrying about the scoreboard and what team we're playing," Harris said. "We just have to come out there and play as close to 40 minutes as long as possible. We took some possessions off today."

Despite the defensive lapses in the first half, Xavier dominated with its offensive balance. Tyeasha Moss had 13 points and center Ta'Shia Phillips had 12 points and 13 rebounds. Reserve guard Lynette Holmes had 11 in the second half.

The Musketeers turned their height advantage into a 46-34 advantage in rebounds. Those first-half lapses on defense stood out the most.

"Coach is stressing being in the gaps and making sure we contest on all shots, and I think that's what we did," Phillips said. "But there were a couple of other shots we kind of let get loose, so we're going to be working really hard on defense this week."

Coach Kevin McGuff wasn't happy with the way his team eased up once it got well ahead. The Musketeers are using the end of the regular season to get ready for tournament time.

"When we get a big lead, sometimes we have a harder time sustaining things," McGuff said. "And we have to get that back in practice. This time of year, I think teams start to separate themselves, and if we want to be one of those teams peaking in March, we have to make sure we get better every single day."

The Musketeers won their 25th straight A-10 regular season game. Fordham dropped its sixth in a row despite 20 points from Arielle Collins.

Leading scorer Becky Peters managed only four shots in the first half and six points overall for Fordham. She came in averaging 13.1 points.