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GW Advances to the NIT Finals

George Washington Colonials 65 San Diego State Aztecs 46

It took 23 years, but George Washington finally got their revenge against Steve Fisher for the 1993 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 loss. But this win was about so much more than just revenge, as for the first time in program history, GW will be playing in the championship of a postseason tournament. The Colonials will face Valparaiso in the NIT finals on Thursday at 7PM on ESPN, after the Crusaders took down BYU 72-70 in the other semifinal Tuesday night.

Tyler Cavanaugh lead GW with 20 points and 11 rebounds, and posted his fourth straight 20+ point performance. Patricio Garino was the only other Colonial in double figures with 13 points, but GW’s balanced offensive attack played a large part in why San Diego State was unable to stop the Colonials all night long. As a team, GW shot 43% from the field, but held the Aztecs to just 29% shooting. In addition, the Colonials shot 36% from three (7-19) while San Diego State shot a lackluster 14% (3-22) from beyond the arc.

This game was probably George Washington’s most complete game since they defeated Virginia way back in November. The Colonials committed a season-low 6 turnovers, and out-rebounded San Diego Sate 38-34, though it felt like a much larger gap. Lonergan deployed a 1-3-1 defense throughout the majority of the second half, and worked to perfection, never allowing San Diego State a chance to climb back to within striking distance.

Looking ahead, GW will face a tough opponent in Valparaiso, who has wins over Rhode Island, Iona, Saint Mary’s. But if the Colonials can play with even a fraction of the same amount of hustle they played with tonight, I see no reason why GW should not be able to compete with Valpo for 40 minutes, and even be cutting down the nets and hoisting the NIT Championship trophy themselves. Why not GW?