Plattsburgh State’s men’s basketball team saw their season end March 9 in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania after losing to Swarthmore College, which is located near Philadelphia, 63-93 in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Division III tournament.
The Cardinals’ field goal percentage of 34.9 percent was dwarfed by Swarthmore’s 59.7 percent and PSUC never took the lead during the game.
PSUC head coach Tom Curle outlined what went wrong against Swarthmore.
“We enjoyed the home atmosphere in the first two rounds of the NCAA, and we suffered from the home atmosphere in Swarthmore,” Curle said. “I think that we didn’t come out necessarily and take the shots we wanted to at the start of the game.”
Although the loss against Swarthmore was tough for the Cards, there is plenty to be proud about this season.
After losing to The College at Brockport 95-97 on Dec. 8, PSUC went on a 17-game winning streak to earn the first seed in the SUNYAC tournament. Comparatively, the Cards didn’t make the SUNYAC playoffs last year.
PSUC defeated Oswego State 89-76 and Oneonta 93-80 in the SUNYAC semifinal and final games respectively before advancing to the NCAA tournament. The Cards then triumphed over Nichols College and Union in the first and second rounds before losing to Swarthmore.
This season was also a season of milestones. Jonathan Patron, a junior forward, and Eli Bryant, a senior guard, both passed the 1,000-point threshold as members of the PSUC basketball team.
Patron was also named to the All-American First Team by the National Association of Basketball Coaches, which is a 5,000 member organization dedicated to displaying the positive aspects of college basketball.
Eric Mack, a senior guard, outlined his beliefs as to how PSUC achieved success this season.
“I think we put in the work and because we put in the work, we were excited to be here [NCAA Tournament],” Mack said.
The Cards had four seniors on the roster this year: Eric Mack, Tim Smith, Zack Coleman and Eli Bryant. All four athletes played leadership roles on the team, and replacing their presence and play will be key to next season. Curle stressed how the juniors will fill the void left by the graduating seniors.
“It’s their time to step up to the leadership role, which they started doing at the end of the year extremely well,” Curle said. “You expect them to carry on more of the burden of the team’s success.”
PSUC will have six seniors on their roster next year, five of whom will have been on the roster for four years by next season’s end. Curle described Wayne Shih as a “behind-the-scenes team leader,” while also highlighting Patron, Chris Middleton, Ian Howard, Isaiah Hill and Brandon Johnson as players that stepped up toward the end of the season and will be seniors next year.
The Cards will also experience increased pressure to replicate the success achieved this season next year. Curle shared his thoughts about dealing with this pressure.
“I’m lucky to work at a college where success is not only measured by wins and losses, but also by graduation rates and by the positive experiences student athletes are having,” Curle said. “We like to think we’re doing a good job in all those areas.”
Email Nate Mundt at firstname.lastname@example.org