WASHINGTON (AP) Even with Tyler Cavanaugh's career night on offense, the difference-maker for George Washington on Saturday was its pressure defense.
The Colonials harassed visiting Rutgers all game with their 1-3-1 half-court trap, forcing a season-high 22 turnovers on 18 steals in an 83-49 blowout.
''I just think it caught them off guard a little bit,'' Cavanaugh said. ''So then we were very active in it, and that's the key.''
Cavanaugh scored a career-high 22 points and hit four 3-pointers to help GW to its largest win of the season. He had previously scored 20 twice, most recently on Nov. 24 in a 94-65 win over Gardner-Webb, another game in which GW used the trap heavily.
Coach Mike Lonergan recalled that success when preparing to face a young Rutgers backcourt.
''We just wanted to jump on them early,'' Lonergan said. ''They're starting a freshman and sophomore, a talented backcourt, but I figure they hadn't really seen a 1-3-1 with our length.''
Paul Jorgensen added 10 points for GW, which improves to 7-0 at home in their second consecutive victory over a Big Ten opponent.
Bishop Daniels scored 12 points and Mike Williams added 11 for the Scarlet Knights, whose 22 turnovers were their most this season and whose 24 first-half points were their fewest.
Rutgers (4-6) has lost five of its last six games, the last two defeats by a combined 63 points.
''They made us do not smart things, to say it nicely,'' said Rutgers coach Eddie Jordan.
Cavanaugh, a junior transfer from Wake Forest, has scored at least 15 points in seven of his 10 games with the Colonials. He got started early Saturday, hitting a jump-hook, a 3-pointer and a pair of foul shots to help GW to a 9-0 lead.
D.J. Foreman's reverse layup ended Rutgers' 0-for-8 drought with 5:18 gone in the half. But GW's early dominance continued, with Matt Hart, Patricio Garino and Cavanaugh each hitting 3-pointers before Garino's scoop layup made it 23-2.
The Colonials led by 22 at halftime before Cavanaugh hit the opening layup of the second half to make it 48-24. Another layup pushed it to 61-33 before his 3-pointer from the top of the arc made it 71-40.
''I actually thought he turned down a couple open 3s up top'' to involve other players in the offense, Lonergan said. ''That's what I love about Tyler. He's a leader.''
Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights play their next four at home before traveling to facing Big Ten foe Wisconsin on Jan. 2. Rutgers also struggled with turnovers in its previous game against a school in Washington, making 20 in an 82-70 home victory over Howard on Nov. 15.
George Washington: The Colonials committed only two first-half turnovers. ... GW's back-to-back wins over Big Ten schools ended a drought of 38 years without a win against the conference.
The Colonials at 9-1 are tied for the third-best start over 10 games in program history. Last year, GW started 7-3 but finished just 22-13 and failed to make the NCAA tournament.
''We were in a great place last year, and we stopped getting better,'' Lonergan warned. ''I think we're more experienced, we have better leadership in that locker room. And Tyler brings a lot of that.''
Jordan refused to attribute his team's poor performance to the absence of forward DeShawn Freeman, who has missed three games with a knee injury. Freeman is averaging 13.1 points a game.
''We can't even think about having guys that we don't have,'' Jordan said. ''The guys that we have should be able to get things done.''
Rutgers: Home Dec. 20 against Monmouth.
George Washington: Home Saturday against St. Peter's.