Youngstown State (0-0) at George Washington (0-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 10, 4 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Charles E. Smith Center (4,338) -- Washington D.C. Television: None. Home Record: YSU 0-0, George Washington 0-0. Away Record: YSU 0-0, George Washington 0-0. Neutral Record: YSU 0-0, George Washington 0-0. Conference Record: YSU 0-0, George Washington 0-0. Series Record: First meeting.
GAMES NOTES: The George Washington Colonials will begin their 99th season this afternoon when they host the Youngstown State Penguins in a non-conference season opener at the Charles E. Smith Center.
It is the 83rd season for Youngstown State which is coming off its best year since 2001. finishing 16-15 overall. Jerry Slocum has three of his most important contributors from last year's squad back. The team was picked to finish fourth in the Horizon League by conference coaches which is the first time in school history it has cracked the top seven in the leagues preseason poll.
Last season was certainly not one of the highlights of the Colonials' near- century long basketball program. George Washington finished just 10-21 for its third losing season in the last five years. Those five seasons of struggles came after the Colonials won 22 or more games and made NCAA Tournament appearances in three straight seasons. Mike Lonergan was brought in last year to get back to that level of play and will have seven letterwinners back this season. The Colonials finished off last season by losing 10 of their final 12 games.
This is the first meeting between these programs.
Youngstown State could not be more fortunate in who was left over from last season. The Penguins lost two starters but still have the trio of Blake Allen, Kendrick Perry and Damian Eagle back. Allen (12.8 ppg, 3.1 apg) runs the point and really lights it up from beyond the arc, as he led the Horizon League with 91 three-pointers last year. Perry (16.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 3.9 apg) is a very good all around player and brings back his team-leading scoring average, as he earned First-Team All-Horizon League honors last season. Perry is an explosive offensive force and put in 20 or more points nine times last season. Eargle (11.1 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 3.7 bpg) can score and rebound well enough but made his biggest impact on the defensive end, swatting shots at a league-leading pace, ranking third nationally.
Offensive ineptitude doomed George Washington last season. The Colonials were the second-lowest scoring team in the Atlantic 10 (62.0 ppg) and that issue doesn't have an immediate fix with lead scorer Tony Taylor (13.1 ppg) gone. Lasan Kromah (11.1 ppg, 5.1 rpg) is the lead returning scorer, but at 6-6 he is more of an inside-out player and will be unable to replace Taylor's ball- handling and distribution functions. David Pellom (10.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg) also averaged in double figures last season despite making only four starts. The frontcourt will be further strengthened from the arrival of a number of newcomers. Chief among them is Villanova-transfer Isaiah Armwood along with foreign imports Kevin Larsen and Nemanja Mikic.
After its first winning season in more than a decade, Youngstown State has the type of returning roster to believe the next drought won't be coming any time soon. George Washington will have a difficult time with the Penguins, but in the end will have enough on the front line to overcome the challenge.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: George Washington 66, Youngstown State 62
11/10 10:33:56 ET