The Plattsburgh State men’s basketball team has gotten off to a great start in 2016. In first place, with an overall record of 15-3 and 10-1 in the conference, the Cardinals undoubtedly feel good about how this season has transpired.

“We’re in a good situation as a first place team,” head coach Tom Curle said, “but it gets tougher when you’re on top.”

Prior to the weekend road trip against Buffalo State and Fredonia, the Cards split the two games at home, losing to Brockport 74-63 and defeating SUNY Geneseo 98-87.

This late in the season, a lot is at stake. With the next two games being on the road, the Cards had a lot to prepare for, with Buffalo State and Fredonia.

Last Friday, PSUC was up against the Bengals for the second time this season. In their previous matchup, the Cards outlasted the Bengals in overtime 98-91. This time around, they came out on top 94-92 sealing the win on a heroic 3-point buzzer beater to end the game by sophomore Eli Bryant.

He described the moment as the best feeling ever.

Bryant’s 22-point outburst, accompanied by a strong performance by senior Kyle Richardson, who added 26 points and 10 rebounds, helped PSUC come away with a victory Friday night against Buffalo.

Following the Cards’ spectacular finish Friday, they traveled to Fredonia to square off with the Blue Devils for the second time this season.

Much like their previous meeting, PSUC pulled away early and never looked back, winning the game 89-75. Freshman Jonathan Patron led the way with 22 points and nine rebounds off the bench, while starter and senior Kyle Richardson notched 20 points and corralled nine boards.

The constant success that the Cards have endured this season is in large part due to their senior core of Kyle Richardson, Edward Correa and Xavier Thomas. On and off the court, the senior players serve as leaders and motivators, especially for the younger squad this year. In particular, Bryant tends to perform well when any of the seniors are on the court with him.

“They focus on Richardson so much that it just opens up my game,” Bryant explained.

Fellow sophomore Zack Coleman has worked his way into the starting rotation this year, starting all of the games he has played in and taking advantage of a stellar opportunity.

“It’s an honor,” Coleman said. “Losing seven seniors last year, I knew I had to step up.”

All three seniors agree that the confidence this group of men have is outstanding. They also said the chemistry in the locker room is perfect, the ambition to win a championship this season is felt throughout the team and the squad is poised coming into the latter end of the season, looking to finish strong. This is highly manageable having five out of the final seven games at home.

Following the sweep on the road against Buffalo State and Fredonia, the Cards are ready to take on Oneonta Friday night and New Paltz Saturday afternoon on their home court at Memorial Hall.

PSUC squared off earlier in the season against both of these teams, defeating Oneonta 85-67 and New Paltz 81-71.

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