NEW YORK (AP) -- Tyler Cavanaugh had 20 points and 11 rebounds, and George Washington advanced to the championship game of the National Invitation Tournament by throttling San Diego State in a 65-46 victory Tuesday night.
Patricio Garino added 13 points for the fourth-seeded Colonials (27-10), who matched the school record for wins in a season and won in their first visit to Madison Square Garden since 2001.
George Washington will play for the crown Thursday night against Valparaiso, a 72-70 winner over BYU in the first semifinal.
Dakarai Allen scored 13 points for No. 2 seed San Diego State (28-10), which struggled to score at times throughout the season and had a dreadful shooting night at the worst time. The Aztecs fell behind by double digits late in the first half and shot 28.8 percent from the field, including 3 for 22 from 3-point range.
It was another big game for Cavanaugh, who came in averaging 21.7 points and 9.3 rebounds in the first three games of this tournament.
Joe McDonald had nine points and six assists for the Colonials, who start players from Japan, Argentina and Denmark. They beat then-No. 6 Virginia back in November and showed no jitters whatsoever in their first trip to the NIT semifinals.
While it was George Washington's first game at the Garden in 15 years, the team did play four games in New York City this season -- all at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
George Washington coach Mike Lonergan said one of the highlights of his life was hearing his name announced at Madison Square Garden in the distinctive voice of the late John Condon, the arena's longtime public-address announcer. Lonergan said he played at the Garden for Catholic University against NYU in a 1980s matchup of Division III powers, the opener of a doubleheader that featured Georgetown and St. John's. "It was awesome," Lonergan said. "I thought it was the coolest thing. ... I was like, goose bumps, when the guy said my name."
For most of the San Diego State players, this trip marked their first visit to New York City. The team scheduled a private tour of the 9/11 memorial site at the World Trade Center after practice Monday. "That will be wonderful," coach Steve Fisher said before the tour. "When we go places, I think that's important, if you have the opportunity, to give them a little feeling for the history of where you are and the significance, especially a place like here. I think it was very important that we did something like that." Sophomore guard Trey Kell said he and his teammates walked around Times Square on Sunday night, and he tried a hot dog from a street vendor. "It was really good," he said.
George Washington: The Colonials equaled the program record for wins set during the 2005-06 season. ... George Washington improved to 2-8 at Madison Square Garden. The previous victory came in November 1994 against Memphis, a third-place game in the Preseason NIT.
San Diego State: Fisher, who led Michigan to the 1997 NIT championship, was trying to become the second coach to win the tournament at two schools. Dave Odom did it at Wake Forest and South Carolina. Fisher, who also guided Michigan to the 1989 national title, is one of two active coaches to win an NCAA and NIT championship. Kentucky's John Calipari is the other.
George Washington: NIT championship game Thursday night against Valparaiso.
San Diego State: Season is over.