NEW YORK — George Washington won its first NIT championship, getting 18 points from Kevin Larsen and pulling away in the second half to beat Valparaiso 76-60 Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.
Patricio Garino had 14 points, Joe McDonald added 13 and the fourth-seeded Colonials (28-10) set a school record for wins in a season. They won their fourth straight against a higher-seeded team, including No. 2 seed Florida, and softened the sting of missing the NCAA Tournament for their three senior starters.
"We'd rather win the NIT than get bounced one-and-done in the NCAA Tournament. That's been the mind-set," Larsen said.
Tyler Cavanaugh, named the tournament's most outstanding player, scored 12. He came in averaging 21.3 points and 9.8 rebounds in the NIT. Valparaiso star Alec Peters scored 15, but only two in the second half. The top-seeded Crusaders (30-7) went 8-for-28 on 3-pointers.