Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Men's Basketball: George Washington 77 Japanese National Team 71

Yuta Watanabe led GW with 19 points & 10 rebounds

From our friends at GW Athletics...

Watanabe, Cavanaugh Lead GW Men’s Basketball Past Japan

Duo combines for 42 points, 17 rebounds in 77-71 win in Tokyo

For the second straight game, Yuta Watanabe starred in front of his home fans while Tyler Cavanaugh had another 20-point effort as GW men's basketball team defeated the Japanese National Team 77-71 on Tuesday at Ryōgoku Kokugikan.

Watanabe had 19 points and a game-high 10 rebounds while connecting on 7-of-13 from the field, including 3-of-5 from long distance. Cavanaugh, after scoring 27 on Saturday against Japan, had 23 to go along with seven boards. Matt Hart added 10 and Jordan Roland eight as GW improved to 2-0 in its tour of Japan.

“I think that was my first double-double in my college career, so that was awesome,” said Watanabe. “The crowd was great, and the national team played so hard, and we kind of struggled, but I’m happy we were able to get the win.”

The Colonials, who won by 15 in the first meeting, led by as much as 17 in the third quarter on Tuesday. Japan mounted a rally, however, and after opening the fourth quarter on an 8-0 run were within 62-58. Clutch plays down the stretch from Cavanaugh and Watanabe, combined with four key points from Jaren Sina, assured the Japanese wouldn’t get any closer.

“We have to finish the game better,” said Watanabe. “We had a big lead and let them get back in the game with three-pointers, so we need to focus more on finishing strong.”

Japan opened the game by building an eight-point advantage in the first quarter, but the Colonials quickly seized the lead in the second quarter as Watanabe helped build a double-digit advantage. With GW ahead by four, he scored eight of the Colonials’ next 10 points to make it 30-20, and at halftime it was 38-34.

GW outscored the Japanese 24-16 in the third quarter, with Watanabe and Cavanaugh scoring eight apiece, building a big enough lead to hold off the fourth quarter comeback.

GW will play the national team once more, on Friday evening in Hamamatsu, before concluding it’s trip vs. the Ryukyu Golden Kings of the BJ League Sunday in Okinawa.

“It was a great environment tonight and a great game,” said Cavanaugh. “For Yuta to play so well in his home country was great. We’re getting better and we have a lot of new guys so it’s good to play in real games with a very physical and mature team in Japan.”

Click here for Tuesday's box score.