Sunday, July 21, 2024

Cardinals unity brings victory

If one thing is clear after five games this season, it’s that the Plattsburgh State men’s basketball team is one unit.

Words like togetherness, team and group are frequently used by players when they describe what needs to be done and how.

“I’d go to war with these guys any day,” Xavier Thomas said.

The Cardinals (4-1) will begin the most important part of their season at home as they face New Paltz (1-4) Friday at 5:30 p.m. and then Oneonta (2-3) on Saturday at 2 p.m.

New Paltz has been struggling as of late with its first win of the season coming last week against Mount Saint Mary College. The Cards will have to keep an eye out for Hawks senior Taylor Sowah. The Bronx product leads the SUNYAC in scoring, averaging 18 points and 10 boards per game.

The Cards smoked the Hawks in last year’s matchup, which resulted in a 90-78 win, as one of the 12 wins PSUC earned at home last season.

On the other hand, the Cards are running on positive momentum after two impressive wins. The first one was a close game as PSUC made a comeback against Skidmore College to snag a 60-57 overtime win.

Head coach Tom Curle said the Cards showed signs of being a tough veteran team against Skidmore College.

“We did not play particularly well, and I was proud of the fact that things weren’t clicking, but we were able to find a way to win,” Curle said.

Reggie Williams had a lot to do with the overtime win as he had a career night, registering a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds.

The Cards last game against St. Lawrence University was the exact opposite.

“The two games were a dichotomy,” Curle said. “One we had to struggle to perform, and the other one it just flowed for us.”

The Cards poured it on St. Lawrence University as they won 71-49 in a night where everything seemed to be falling for PSUC as they shot 47 percent from the field and 48 percent from downtown.

Curle wasn’t necessarily as impressed with the scoring as much as he was pleased watching his team move the ball efficiently.

“It wasn’t the fact that we were shooting the ball well,” Curle said. “It was that we were passing the ball more effectively.”

On the season, the Cards have been shooting lights out as they rank third in three-point field goal percentage despite being the only team in the SUNYAC to attempt more than 100 three-pointers as a team. The Cards have also taken care of the ball averaging only 12 turnovers per game, good for ninth-fewest in the SUNYAC.

Curle said the Cards have been doing a great job of passing up good shots to get great ones, and it’s all because everyone is buying in and playing together as a team.

One of those players that Curle said has shown exceptional leadership qualities is senior Shamoy McIntosh, who is averaging 4.8 assists per game even though he was one of the Cards’ top scorers last season. He’s chipping in other areas such as rebounds and steals.

McIntosh said the Cards are confident in their scoring because of the many weapons they have in the starting lineup as well as coming off the bench. He said the Cards just need to focus on maintaining their defensive intensity throughout entire games.

The Cards are first in the SUNYAC in defending the three, an area that was of utmost concern to Curle as the team was giving up a lot of open looks to opposing teams earlier in the season.

McIntosh said it doesn’t matter if players have to sacrifice some things individually as the team is what is most important.

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