George Washington Colonials 87 Monmouth Hawks 71
For the first time in program history, George Washington will advance to the NIT Quarterfinals, as they upset the #1 seed Monmouth on the road Monday night. The Colonials led from the opening tip to the final horn, never allowing the Hawks to get closer than a point. A 10-0 second half run sealed Monmouth’s fate, and GW became just the second team to win in West Long Branch, NJ all season.
Tyler Cavanaugh led the Colonials with 22 points and 12 rebounds, and has scored in double figures in every game this season. Kevin Larsen had 19 points, including two big threes in the first half . Patricio Garino also had 19 points, along with six rebounds, while Joe McDonald had 16 points with seven boards. Alex Mitola was the lone bench-scorer and had five points.
George Washington was able to control the pace of the game throughout, and always seemed to have an answer for every Monmouth run. The first half was a series of runs, and GW took a four-point lead into halftime. The Hawks came right out of halftime and cut the deficit to just one, but would get no closer the rest of the night. With 12:25 left, Patricio Garino was called for a charge, which led to a bench technical on GW. Just as it seemed the momentum was swinging away from the Colonials, they found a way. The defense came up with a big stop, and Garino scored a transition basket to give GW a 53-46 lead.
After a slow start from the foul line, GW hit several key free throws down the stretch, as Monmouth fouled 17 times in the second half. As a team, the Colonials hit 71% from the foul line, 15 of them coming from Larsen and Cavanaugh alone. From the field, GW shot an impressive 52%, and 47% from the arc. Five of the nine made threes came from Garino and Larsen, and came at key time.
The Colonials slowly pulled away, and eventually put the game away. The cherry on top came in the waning seconds, when freshman Collin Goss came in and blocked a shot and then grabbed the rebound. The GW bench exploded, and the celebration began. George Washington will host 2-seed Florida on Wednesday at 7PM on ESPN2.