George Washington’s Tyler Cavanaugh scored seven points in the first two minutes of the second half to help the Colonials build a double-digit lead.
George Washington built on that advantage and maintained control throughout its 76-66 win over Penn State on Tuesday night at the Smith Center. The Colonials (8-1) led by as many as 18 points and never allowed the Nittany Lions (5-3) to pull closer than nine points in the final 15 minutes.
Penn State’s Shep Garner scored a game-high 22 points, Brandon Taylor added 15 and Payton Banks had 10. Garner went 7 for 13 from the field and finished with six rebounds, three assists and no turnovers in 38 minutes.
Cavanaugh paced George Washington with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Joe McDonald finished with 16 points, Yuta Watanabe had 14 and Paul Jorgensen had 11.
The Colonials led 40-33 at halftime, and Cavanaugh sparked the team out of the break.
He finished a layup through a foul on the team’s first possession. He was then left wide open for a 3-pointer and finished inside to give George Washington a 47-35 lead with 18:15 left.
Less than three minutes later, the Colonials took their largest lead of the game, going ahead 56-38 after a pair of free throws by McDonald.
George Washington held a double-digit lead until Taylor knocked down a 3-pointer to bring Penn State within 71-62 with 4:09 to play. A layup by Garner cut the deficit to nine points again with just more than a minute left.
Both teams committed just three turnovers each in the second half.
The Nittany Lions went 2 for 14 from beyond the arc and attempted six free throws in the final 20 minutes. George Washington finished 14 for 18 from the free-throw line in the second half and 21 for 28 for the game.
Penn State hosts Canisius at 7 p.m. Thursday in the first of two games at Rec Hall this week. The Nittany Lions then play Louisiana-Monroe at 2 p.m. Saturday.