Toledo simply had no answer for GW forward Tyler Cavanaugh as they watched him score a game high 29 points
Taking on the Toledo Rockets in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational, George Washington, led by the inside dominance of forwards Tyler Cavanaugh and Patrick Steeves, walked away with a 73-69 win. With their 20th win, the Colonials advanced to Mondays quarterfinals where they will take on the winner of Stony Brook and Illinois-Chicago.
GW (20-14) started the game by feeding Cavanaugh early and often as they jumped out to a 16-9 lead. Toledo (17-17) responded with a run of their own behind the deadly inside outside combination of sophomore Jaelen Sanford (25 points) and senior forward Steve Taylor Jr (18 points) to keep the Rockets in the game. However, a strong scoring contribution from freshman point guard Jair Bolden, helped the Colonials go into the half with a 35-29 lead having never trailed.
Toledo sophomore point guard Jaelen Sanford came to play finishing with a team high 25 points on 11-19 shooting
The second half saw Cavanaugh continue his dominant play, although now, he had help in Patrick Steeves. Steeves went on to score 11 of his 17 points in the half to help keep GW out in front. Toledo thanks to 15 second half points from Sanford, made things interesting late in the game as they cut into the Colonials lead, yet it was too much Cavanaugh down the stretch as he iced the game from the free throw line in the final seconds. Cavanaugh and Steeves combined to shoot 17-26 from the field scoring 48 of the Colonials 73 points in the win.
"Typical fashion ,Tyler Cavanaugh coming to save the day," said GW Head Coach Maurice Joseph. "Getting a monster rebound in a crowd of eight people. You know, 29 points and seven rebounds; he put on his superman cape and did what he does, and came out with a huge win. We had a rough game defensively. We weren’t all there. We were kind of struggling with our ball screen stuff. They were missing their best player, I don’t know if we let down or something. Again, it’s March, so survive and advance."
Forward Patrick Steeves second half scoring was vital to holding off a feisty Rockets team
Both teams were comparable shooting from the field as GW shot 49 percent and Toledo shot 50 percent, yet, the Colonials held an edge in shooting from three point range (GW-37%/ Toledo-30%).
Toledo's Steve Taylor Jr was a beast in the paint finishing with 18 points and 8 rebounds