George Washington became the fourth mid-major to punch their ticket to the NIT quarterfinals Monday night with an 87-71 methodical victory over the #1 Monmouth Hawks. Mike Lonergan's Colonials ended a historic 28-8 year for Monmouth, a team that most felt deserved an NCAA Tournament bid.
Monday looked to be a tough road matchup for the fourth-seeded Colonials, but for the most part they handled the Hawks with ease. The Hawks cut a four-point halftime deficit to one early in the second half, but Foggy Bottom Boys immediately went on a 10-0 run. Another run with about eight minutes left would get King Rice's squad within five points, but GW once again went on a dominating run to pull away from Monmouth.
Wake Forest transfer Tyler Cavanaugh lead the Colonials with 22 points and 12 rebounds. Senior Patricio Garino continues to play like a guy who doesn't want to see his college career end and posted 19 points, six rebounds, three steals, and two assists. Fellow foreign import and senior Kevin Larsen also had 19 points, five rebounds, and five assists.
While Monday's loss does end a memorable season for Monmouth, the Hawks should be back next year and just as talented. Right now King Rice is only slated to lose Deon Jones from the Hawks roster. Jones finished the season averaging 10.4 points and 6.3 rebounds.
George Washington will now host second-seeded Florida in the District on Wednesday night for a 7 PM tip on ESPN2. The game is being played at GW due to construction at the Gators arena. Florida has scored road victories over North Florida and Ohio State on their way to the NIT Quarterfinals.
Tuesday NIT Quarterfinal Schedule
#2 St. Mary's Gaels at #1 Valparaiso Crusaders
7 PM, ESPN
#4 Creighton Blue Jays at #2 BYU Cougars
9 PM, ESPN