CHICAGO -- In a CBI Quarterfinal match-up in Chicago, Illinois, Tyler Cavanaugh and the George Washington men's basketball team rallied to overcome significant deficits in both halves, but ultimately had their season cut short of the CBI Semis by the UIC Flames in an 80-71 defeat.
Though plagued by foul trouble, Cavanaugh was a monster yet again, as he dropped his game-high 24 points on 8-of-9 shooting (2-of-2 3pt. fg) and just missed a double-double with nine rebounds before fouling out with 1:27 to play. Junior Yuta Watanabe, GW's second-leading scorer on the season who figures to be the Colonials' leading man next season, got a jump on his leading role with a season-high 21 points, along with four rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block for the A-10 All-Defensive Team performer.
Cavanaugh ends his two-year run at George Washington as one of the most decorated and prolific Colonials of all-time. The two-time All A-10 honoree and 2016 NIT Most Outstanding Player, Cavanaugh finishes with 1,278 points, 25th all-time at GW in just two seasons of action.
GW concludes the campaign with a 20-15 mark - its fourth-straight 20-win season - and having made a postseason appearance in each of the last four seasons, doing so this season with a roster that included eight newcomers. Next season GW is slated to return seven of its top eight scorers, along with the top three performers in assists, steals and blocks per game.
Playing in front of its home fans, UIC scored the first seven points of the game before GW rallied to take a 20-17 lead at the 9:40 mark after back-to-back threes by freshmen bigs Collin Smith and Arnaldo Toro. The triple from Toro, however, was GW's last lead as the Flames answered with an 18-0 run. Cavanaugh put out the fire with a bucket at the 5:37 mark, but GW trailed 42-32 at the break.
The Colonials had a comeback in mind, as they had previously overcome a 10-point deficit four times this season, and cut a 17-point second half deficit to two with 1:48 to play on an and-one from Cavanaugh. However, UIC hit for a layup on its next possession and Cavanaugh was whistled for his fifth foul when he was tangled up, sending the Flames to the free throw line where they hit one of two to make it 70-65.
From there, UIC was able to close it out at the charity stripe to secure the nine-point victory. The Flames were led by All-Horizon performer Tai Odiase's 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting, while guard Tarkus Ferguson had a double-double with 12 assists and 10 rebounds.