George Washington advances to NIT quarterfinals

Watanabe's stellar defense a critical factor against Monmouth

Staff Report

The George Washington men’s basketball team advanced to the NIT quarterfinals by beating Monmouth 87-71 on Monday in West Long Branch, New Jersey.

The fourth-seeded Colonials (25-10), who never trailed, outscored the hosts 50-38 in the second half in a game televised by ESPN. Sophomore Yuta Watanabe, who hails from Kagawa Prefecture, played an instrumental role on defense in the nationally televised game.

The 203-cm Watanabe primarily guarded Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Player of the Year Justin Robinson, a 173-cm guard. Robinson finished with six points on 2-for-16 shooting.

“No doubt Yuta was the player of the game for us,” the Colonials’ Kevin Larsen was quoted as saying to The GW Hatchet, the GW student newspaper. “He was the MVP. He locked down a guy that is averaging 19 a game so this game goes to Yuta.”

Tyler Cavanaugh paced GW with 22 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Larsen and Patricio Garino had 19 points apiece and Watanabe finished with six points, nine boards and a block.

For No. 1 seed Monmouth (28-8), Micah Seaborn scored 24 points. The Colonials will travel to face No. 2 Florida in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.