CINCINNATI -- Xavier knew it had a decided inside advantage against Saint Louis going into the teams' Atlantic 10 opener Thursday night, and junior Derrick Brown and the Musketeers made it pay off.
The 6-foot-8 Brown didn't miss a shot while scoring 20 points and C.J. Anderson added 13 as Xavier (No. 18 ESPN/USA Today, No. 16 AP) rolled to a 70-44 victory over the Billikens.
Brown was 6-for-6 from the field, including three 3-pointers, and made all five of his free throws.
"That's just Derrick Brown," said Jason Love, who had 11 points for Xavier. "He's a great player. He comes to work every day. He set the tone for us tonight."
The Musketeers (12-2, 1-0), who have won three straight after consecutive losses, shot 51.9 percent from the field (28-for-54) while outscoring the Billkens 44-30 in the paint. Saint Louis started two freshmen forwards, 6-9 Willie Reed and 6-6 Brian Conklin.
"That was the overwhelming difference in the game," said Xavier coach Sean Miller, who wouldn't let Brown talk to the media after the game and didn't offer an explanation. "Saint Louis is a good team, but they're not very inexperienced or deep around the basket. We have a lot of experience and a lot depth around the basket, and we took advantage of that."
Kevin Lisch scored nine points to lead the Billikens (9-6, 0-1), who made a season-low one 3-pointer and saw their three-game winning streak snapped with their worst loss of the season.
"They killed us inside," Lisch said. "We have to compete better in there."
The Billikens' 30.8 shooting percentage (16-for-52) was also their worst of the season, one percentage point worse than what they shot in their last game, a 60-52 victory over North Carolina A&T. The Billikens were 1-for-10 from 3-point range against Xavier.
Saint Louis' previous worst loss was a 64-48 defeat at Southern Illinois on Dec. 2. The Billikens had won seven of eight since then.
"They just kicked our butts -- period," Saint Louis coach Rick Majerus said. "They're a very good team. They played much better than us. They were certainly much more physical. They beat us in every possible way we could be beaten. I don't know who's in the top 10 or the top 20, but they're a real good team."
The Musketeers, who have won the last two A-10 regular-season championships, never trailed after Brown made a 3-pointer less than a minute into the game. He scored 11 points and Anderson had 10 to lead the Musketeers to a 39-22 halftime lead.
"It started with our defense," said Xavier reserve guard Dante Jackson, who had six assists. "That got us some easy buckets. Our game plan was to get it inside to the big guys and let them go to work."
Xavier's biggest lead was 70-43 on a 3-pointer by freshman Brad Redford with 10:04 left in the game.