Versatile George Washington powers past Penn State


Versatile George Washington powers past Penn State

George Washington coach Mike Lonergan admits his Colonials would have lost games last year when starters Kevin Larsen and Patricio Garino struggled scoring. That's not the case this campaign even against a major conference opponent.

Forwards Tyler Cavanaugh and Yuta Watanabe fueled the offense and an early second-half run carried George Washington to a 76-66 win over Penn State Tuesday night.

Cavanaugh scored 18 points, guard Joe McDonald 16, and the 3-point shooting Watanabe had all 14 of his points in the first half for the Colonials (8-1). GW led most of the game, 40-33 at halftime and 56-38 following a 14-3 spurt. McDonald tallied 14 points in the second half as George Washington snapped Penn State's three-game winning streak.

Watanabe, a sophomore who moved into the starting lineup late last season, made four 3-pointers in the first half after sinking eight over the opening eight games. GW went 9 of 19 from beyond the arc in a rematch from last season's 64-51 road loss.

Shep Garner scored 22 points and Brandon Taylor had 15 for the Nittany Lions (5-3). Penn State closed to 71-62 on Taylor's 3-pointer with 4:09 remaining, but they would not get closer.

Bench production helped the first half push with 14 points. Improved play from sophomore guard Paul Jorgensen plus additions of three transfers -- Cavanaugh, Matt Hart, Alex Mitola -- provide Lonergan with more options this season. Other than seeking ways to prevent Larsen from playing 36 minutes a game, the coach appears pleased with his rotation. 

"Last year we didn't have a lot of depth either, but we couldn't overcome Garino having two [points] and Larsen having six," Lonergan said. "Now with the addition of Tyler and Paul stepping up his game, even Matt Hart and Alex Mitola, they're threats to score. They've given us something off the bench. We didn't really have a lot of bench production last year."

George Washington owns several wins over notable programs under fifth-year coach Mike Lonergan, but this season some of the victories are happening in Foggy Bottom. The win over Penn State was GW's first over a Big Ten opponent at home since defeating Wisconsin in 1977. George Washington defeated ACC power and sixth-ranked Virginia 73-68 at home on Nov. 16. 

As for recent history, the Colonials received little production at power forward last season. That's changed with Cavanaugh, who sat out last year after transferring from Wake Forest. The assertive 6-foot-9 forward with the ability to power past opponents at the rim and shoot from distance, recorded his first double-double since the season opener. Despite his new guy-ish status, Cavanaugh quickly blended in with the returning player's from last season's 22-win team.

"They're all unselfish basketball players," Cavanaugh said. "They get me [the ball] in good spots where I feel comfortable to score and that's impressive because I've only played nine games with them so far."

The offensive flow stood out, leading to 16 assists on 23 baskets along with 28 free throw attempts. Larsen only scored six points, but the big man was once again a big passing presence, finishing with five assists.

"I just thought we passed the ball very well, Cavanaugh said. "When the ball is moving like that, it's easy to have balance scoring."

On the other end, the Colonials defense held the Nittany Lions to 7 of 26 of 3-point attempts. 

* McDonald and Cavanaugh combined to make 15 of 18 free throws.

* Sophomore center Matt Cimino recently underwent a surgical procedure on his right foot after suffering an injury in practice. He is expected to miss at least two months, according to a school official. 

* The Colonials have now faced a major conference team in four straight games with a fifth, Rutgers, visiting Saturday. GW defeated Tennessee in Brooklyn and Seton Hall last week at Smith Center. They lost to No. 24 at the Barclays Center less than 24 hours after beating the Vols. 

* The Colonials went 1-3 in road games at Virginia, Seton Hall, Penn State and Rutgers last season. Payback is working nicely so far. "We want to go 4-0 at home," Lonergan said. "It's one of the mini goals we have."

* Watanabe's first half scoring total could have jumped up if he didn't miss both of his free throw attempts. Each came after a made a basket, including a straight-on banked 3-pointer. GW, which entered the game second among Atlantic 10 teams at 76.4 percent, finished 21 of 28.

* Michigan State's visit in 1986 was the last by a Big Ten before Tuesday.

RELATED: Bright first half carries Georgetown over Brown

2019 NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship: Bracket, schedules, teams

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2019 NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship: Bracket, schedules, teams

All of a sudden, we are down to four.

The NCAA Men's Lacrosse semifinals are set, with Penn State, Yale, Virginia, and Duke fighting for the title.

The semifinals will be played on Saturday, setting the stage for the National Championship on Monday.

Here is everything you need to know.

What schools are playing for the NCAA Men's Lacrosse title?

The four schools remaining are Penn State, Yale, Virginia, and Duke.

Penn State faces Yale in the first semifinal, with Virginia and Duke clashing in an ACC battle for a spot in the National Championship.

When are the NCAA Men's Lacrosse semifinals and final?

The first semifinal matchup is on Saturday, May 25, at 12:00 p.m. The second semifinal will take place roughly 30 minutes following the conclusion of the first game, with an anticipated start time of 2:30 p.m. 

The National Championship will be held on Monday, May 27, at 1 p.m.

Where can I watch and live stream the NCAA Men's Lacrosse semifinals and final?

All three games will be aired on live television on ESPN2.

Each game is available for stream on WatchESPN.

How did each team get here?

The No. 1 overall seeded Penn State Nittany Lions have cruised into the Final Four. They defeated Loyola (Md.) 21-14 in the quarterfinals after beating UMBC 25-10 in the first round. Penn State has lost just one game all season and should be the favorites to take home the title.

In one of the best games of the tournament, Yale narrowly edged University of Pennsylvania 19-18 in the quarterfinal for the opportunity to face Penn State in the semifinals. Yale defeated Georgetown in their opening game of the tournament.

In a controversy game-tying goal with just seconds remaining, Virginia edged out Maryland 13-12 in overtime for a spot in the semifinals. They cruised by Robert Morris, 19-10, in their first-round matchup.

The third one-goal victory of the quarterfinals belonged to Duke, who defeated Notre Dame 14-13 in the quarterfinals. The Blue Devils have been tested throughout the tournament, as they just slid by Richmond, 12-11, in their opening matchup.

If the past couple rounds are any indication, his weekend should bring exciting lacrosse for everyone.

Terrapins get huge commitment from 7-foot-2 internet phenom Chol Marial

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Terrapins get huge commitment from 7-foot-2 internet phenom Chol Marial

The Maryland Terrapins just added a huge piece to their 2019 recruiting class. Literally. 

The Terps officially signed 7-foot-1 center Chol Marial (AZ Compass Prep, Chandler, Arizona), the team announced Monday. 

Depending on who you ask, Marial is either a three-star, 210-pound or a four-star, 220-pound recruit (247Sports, ESPN), but he's unquestionably taller than seven feet. He also has a 7-foot-11 wingspan that Maryland coach Mark Turgeon expects will make him "an excellent rim protector."

"I've watched Chol the last three years and I can't say enough about him as both a person and a basketball player," Turgeon said in a release from Maryland, which lists Marial at 7-foot-2 and 230 pounds. 

"One of the top players in his class when healthy, Chol's tremendous size and length make him an excellent rim protector. Chol possesses a humble demeanor and a strong work ethic that will fit well with our family. We can't wait to have him in College Park and look forward to helping him reach his dreams."

Originally from Rumbek, South Sudan, Marial moved to the U.S. as a middle-schooler in 2014. He also previously attended IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. 

ESPN ranks Marial as the No. 2 center in Arizona and the No. 14 center nationally, while 247Sports says he's No. 6 and No. 26 in those two respective categories.

He visited Maryland on April 26, according to 247Sports, and also received offers from Georgetown, Florida State, Arizona State, Iowa, UConn and West Virginia.

"I want to thank Coach Turgeon for giving me this opportunity," Marial said in a release from the school. "Coach Turgeon and I have gotten along really well and I really enjoyed spending time with the rest of the coaching staff and players. Bruno Fernando and I have similar backgrounds and I saw how much he improved as a player at Maryland. I'm looking forward to getting better every day and playing for Terp Nation."