LASALLE – If the first 13 minutes weren't perfect for Dixon, they were awfully close.
The Dukes dominated early, building a 22-point first-half lead. They saw their lead shrink to six before putting LaSalle-Peru away in a 73-59 Northern Illinois Big 12 West win Friday night at LaSalle-Peru High School.
It took Dixon (13-3, 3-1) less than 6 minutes to build a double-digit lead. Two 3-pointers from Laron Carr, and another from Cal Jarrett propelled the Dukes to a 16-4 advantage with 2:16 left in the opening quarter.
Dixon led 22-9 after one quarter, with Carr scoring 10 of his team-high 22 points in the period.
Two dunks by Isaiah Roby, who scored 17 points, and 3-pointers from Carr and Jarrett helped the Dukes up the margin to 39-17 with 2:58 left in the first half. Jarrett scored 18 points.
"We came out with a lot of energy," Carr said. "This is a game we really needed to win. We owed them big time, so we came out and played our hardest. I came out with a lot of confidence."
The Cavaliers (6-8, 1-3) shaved the difference to 44-29 by halftime.
Leading 55-35 with less than 2 minutes left in the third quarter, Dixon saw LP's Noah Lamboley, who scored a game-high 26 points, shoot his team back into the game.
Lamboley hit three straight 3-pointers to end the third quarter, making it 55-44. He knocked down two more early in the fourth quarter, and suddenly it was 58-52 with 5:46 to play.
"We weren't really worried. We just did what we had to do," said Roby, who had a season-high three dunks. "It was scary, but we weren't worried too much.
"Last year, we would have lost that game by at least 25. Once he started making shots, we would have had our heads down. But this year, the whole team is stepping up."
The Dukes answered the threat, outscoring the Cavs 15-7 the rest of the way.
"We executed our gameplan really well," Dixon coach Jason Mead said. "We were aggressive on offense, and defensively, we took them out of what they wanted in the first half."
Dixon 73, LaSalle-Peru 59
Star of the game: Laron Carr, Dixon, team-high 22 points, 10 in 1st quarter
Key performers: Noah Lamboley, LP, game-high 26 points; Cal Jarrett, Dixon, 18 points; Isaiah Roby, Dixon, 17 points
Up next: Dixon at Mendota, 7:15 p.m. Saturday