George Washington flops in opener against Youngstown State

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Sports,College,Kevin Dunleavy

Lineup lacks cohesion in loss to the Penguins

When he left Villanova, Isaiah Armwood had opportunities to play for teams in the ACC. Opting instead for George Washington, the Montrose Christian graduate chose a school close to home where he could be a star.

On Saturday, Armwood had a solid opening act but also realized the downside of joining a team in transition as GW struggled with cohesion in an 80-73 loss to Youngstown State before 2,198 at Smith Center.

Blending six new players with seven holdovers will be a process of trial and error for coach Mike Lonergan. Against Youngstown State of the Horizon League, inspired GW shot to a 28-23 lead. But the Penguins shifted to a 2-3 zone that the Colonials never solved. GW shot 40 percent from the floor and had 14 turnovers.

"We came out ready to play," GW coach Mike Lonergan said. "They were smart. They have a good coach [Jerry Slocum]. They went to a zone, and the numbers speak for themselves. Our shooting was off. We had some really bad turnovers. They just kept us from scoring."

Armwood (18 points, five rebounds) and freshman Patricio Garino (13 points, seven rebounds) played well in their Smith Center debuts. The Colonials didn't fare as well in the backcourt, however, as freshman Joe McDonald, junior Lasan Kromah and senior Bryan Bynes shot a combined 6-for-23 and committed seven turnovers.

"I though Joe played hard. He played pretty good [defense]," Lonergan said of his point guard. "But he had some costly turnovers."

An example of the Colonials' lack of synchronization came with 28 seconds left and GW trailing 74-71. McDonald threw a pass on the wing to Nemanja Mikic, whose head was turned. The play illustrated the Colonials' frustrations over the final 40 seconds, in which they were outscored 9-2.

Youngstown State was propelled in the first half by freshman Bobby Hain (19 points, 11 rebounds), who came off the bench to hit seven of nine shots. In the final 10 minutes, senior guard Blake Allen (19 points) drilled a trio of 3-pointers in the final 10 minutes and four free throws in the last 25 seconds.

kdunleavy@washingtonexaminer.com

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