Believe it or not George Washington had never won an NIT game in the 100-plus years the school has been playing basketball. That changed for Mike Lonergan and the Colonials Tuesday night as they upset Pittsburgh on the road 60-54. It was only GW's fifth appearance in the NIT and their first since 2004 when the Colonials fell to Virginia 79-66.
Lonergan is hoping that tonight's win and the NIT appearance lays a similar foundation as 2004. If you remember the Colonials won the A10 Tournament in 2005 and then made it through the A10 regular season slate undefeated in 2006. Another solid foundation being laid in Foggy Bottom isn't that hard to picture right now with everyone not named John Kopriva slated to return to the nation's capital next season.
Enough about next season, GW is still playing and we're getting deeper in March. The Colonials brought Pitt's season to a merciful end in a deflated Peterson Events Center behind 17 points from Kethan Savage off the bench. Obviously GW's scoring woes still continued as Patricio Garino was the only other player in double-figures with 14 points, but Lonergan's squad continued to play great defense.
GW forced 16 turnovers behind 10 steals, game of which were from Garino. The Colonials also limited the Panthers to two three pointers the whole game.
The Buff and Blue will stay in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for their next match up as they await the winner of #8 Bucknell versus #1 Temple, who play tomorrow night in the Liacouras Center. I'm sure GW fans would welcome a meeting with an old A10 rival in the Owls.