The Plattsburgh State men’s basketball team has achieved the highest honor in the SUNYAC conference, clinching the top seed entering the playoffs.

“It’s the players’ time to shine,” head coach Tom Curle said. “It’s hard to do what we’ve done this year, and I’m proud of the fact that we’ve done it.”

Following the victory against Potsdam last Wednesday that granted home-court throughout the SUNYAC playoffs for the Cardinals, PSUC traveled to Brockport last Friday in a rematch from earlier in the season, which the Cards fell short at home to the Golden Eagles 74-63.

Against Brockport, PSUC defeated the Eagles in a close battle 76-72. The three seniors, Xavier Thomas, Edward Correa and Kyle Richardson played nearly the whole game for the Cards, with Richardson putting up yet another double-double, tallying 21 points and 11 rebounds.

“It started with the experience I got last year from our seniors Reggie Williams and Ezra Hodgson,” Richardson said. “I learned a lot from those guys, and I carried it over to this year. The biggest thing for me is playing with confidence and being comfortable with my game.”

The Cards ended the season with a road series sweep, defeating Brockport and Geneseo both by a score of 76-72. These wins finished the Cards’ record on the road at 9-2.

PSUC swept the season series between the Knights with the win on Saturday. Freshman forward Jonathan Patron had a huge performance off the bench — much like he always does — this time putting up a double-double with 22 points and 12 rebounds in 29 minutes.

“At the beginning of the year, a lot of teams didn’t know what he was capable of,” Richardson said about Patron. “Now you see teams try to double him, which is still hard because of his size, and you have players around him that can also score, so you just have to pick your poison with us.”

PSUC finished the season at a stellar 21-4 overall and 16-2 in the conference, falling short only twice on the road to a SUNYAC opponent. Fortunately for the Cards, their number one seed grants the team the non-burden of traveling during the playoffs.

Entering the playoffs as the top seed, coach Curle is adamant on the fact that the team needs to focus on themselves and only themselves.

“I can’t worry about our opponents at this point. I have to worry about what we’re going to do,” Curle said. “We’re worried about Plattsburgh.”

The regular season is undoubtedly a long season for the athletes and coaches, and with the playoffs ahead of them, they continue to work harder than ever in order to accomplish their goals at this stage. Even for the younger players on the team, this won’t be their first time in a playoff atmosphere.

“In my high school, I made it to the playoffs and went pretty deep there,” freshman forward Chris Middleton said. “I’m pretty confident.”

This team is no stranger to winning or to long seasons despite having such a young roster. Players like freshman guard Brandon Johnson and freshman forward Chris Middleton have played on a more advanced level in high school, both with experience in big and highly intense moments.

“Everybody knows that Plattsburgh is a winning program, so winners want to come here and play,” Richardson said. “That winning mindset and attitude: It really just drives us.”

This team is fully prepared for the challenges ahead of them and are confident in how they will pan out.

The Cards will play Oswego State in a SUNYAC semifinal matchup, which the Cards will host at Memorial Hall tonight at 7:30 p.m., with the winner advancing to the championship game Saturday at 4 p.m.

Email Ezra Kachaturian at ezra.kachaturian@cardinalpointsonline.com

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