The circumstances are a lot different this year in comparison to last year for the Plattsburgh State men’s basketball team. Heading into its final weekend matchups of the season, the Cardinals are sporting an 11-12 record (7-9 in conference) and are battling for a SUNYAC playoff spot.
After losing to No. 10 Middlebury by double-digits Tuesday, the Cards will look to finish the season with a pair of victories against New Paltz and Oneonta, conference opponents.
“First of all, we want to win both games, but Saturday is our biggest game of the year,” junior forward Majestic Grigg said. “Regardless of what happens this weekend, we just have to take care of our business. It’s been a tough year full of ups-and-downs, so it would be great if we make the playoffs, but if we don’t, the reasons why are obvious.”
PSUC found itself being in early foul trouble Tuesday which halted the Cards’ ability to execute fundamental plays as well as scoring.
“We had a rough stretch. We couldn’t really get the ball in the basket,” Grigg said. “Guys were in foul trouble early, and we weren’t executing. When we execute, we play well. When we don’t, you see it on the scoreboard.”
The Cards won both meetings earlier in the year at home by defeating Oneonta 87-82 and New Paltz by nearly 40 points, which can give the team an added boost of confidence heading into the pivotal weekend.
“New Paltz is a really scrappy team, despite their lack of success. They give a lot of teams problems,” Grigg said. “We don’t want to underestimate anybody though. We just want to go in and play ball the Cardinal way. Same thing against Oneonta, we are two very evenly matched teams, and it’ll all come down to who executes better.”
PSUC will be counting on its experience in order to win these games, which this team has a lot of despite its youth.
“We are a very talented team, we know we can win games,” Grigg said. “It’s more than talent though. It’s about being dedicated and working hard for your goals, while also having the heart to go out there and take these games from our opponents.”
Despite their rollercoaster of a season, the Cards still have a lot to feel good about heading into their final weekend.
“Definitely some ups-and-down through the season, but our first two games against New Paltz and Oneonta went pretty well,” freshman guard Nick DeAngelis said. “These two games could bring us into the playoffs, so they are definitely our most important games of the season.”
PSUC will first travel to New Paltz for a 5:30 p.m. tipoff Friday, then will hit the road for Oneonta Saturday 2 p.m. to round out the regular season.
“We just have to leave it all out on the court this weekend,” DeAngelis said.
Email Ezra Kachaturian at firstname.lastname@example.org