Colonial seniors Patricio Garino and Kevin Larsen combined for 32 points and 21 rebounds in the quarterfinal win
GW senior leaders Joe McDonald, Patricio Garino and Kevin Larsen weren't ready to end their outstanding collegiate careers, ESPECIALLY on their home floor, in the NIT quarterfinal match-up against visiting SEC heavyweight Florida Gators. The trio has been a part of big wins over high major programs all season long, however, high optimism that the Colonials would beat the Gators weren't shared with many outside of DC. Obviously, it should've been. The Colonials, in front of a packed Smith Center, played with a intensity that was very similar to their early season win over Virginia. Fortunately, the same result occured. Junior forward Tyler Cavanaugh scored 18 of his game high 23 points (7-14 FG/ 4-5 3FG/ 5-6 FT) in the second half to lead GW to a 82-77 win over Florida, helping the Colonials advance to the N.I.T semifinal next Tuesday, March 29th at 9pm on ESPN.
With the win (26) GW is in a second place tie for most wins in program history for a season, which is 27.
Along with Cavanaugh, senior center Kevin Larsen was unstoppable all game long, filling it up from all over, finishing with 19 points (8-15 FG) and 13 rebounds, making it Larsen's 13th double double of the season. Fellow senior guard Patrcio Garino added 13 points and 8 rebounds respectively.
In a highly competitive game that featured both teams giving literally everything they had, it was the Colonials who held a 39-36 lead at the half, in which it held the Gators to 42% shooting from the field while converting 51% of their field goals, thanks in large part to a much needed spark from reserve guards Matt Hart and Paul Jorgensen.
The second half was an all out war. Florida led by an outstanding performance from freshman guard KeVaughn Allen (22 points (8-15 FG) and 4 rebounds) matched Larsen's explosive second half , forcing 14 ties and 19 lead changes throughout. Naturally, the game down to the wire. With about a minute left in the game and GW leading 74-73, junior forward Tyler Cavanaugh received the pass from Alex Mitola near the top of the key and with no hesitation, knock down the clutch three-pointer to put the Colonials up for good, securing a quarterfinal win.
Kevarrius Hayes posted 14 points (6-7 FG) and 6 rebounds while point guard Kasey Hill also added 12 points (5-18 FG) and 7 assist.
Florida freshman Kevarrius Hayes (#13) and KeVaughn Allen (#4) combined for 36 of the Gators 77 points