Plattsburgh State’s men’s basketball team is coming off successful back-to-back wins on Friday and Saturday after beating SUNY Oswego and SUNY Cortland, respectively, by a total margin of 47 points in Memorial Hall.
This pushes the Cardinals to a 17-4 record, and 14-1 in SUNYAC play, with an active 14-game-winning-streak.
Six players scored double digit points against Cortland (15-6, 10-4), leading the team to a 23-point win. Against Oswego (10-11, 7-7), junior forward Ian Howard grabbed 10 rebounds to go along with four blocks in his impactful statline as the team won by a commanding 24 points.
Although both were relatively close games at first, it took a little time for PSUC to get into a rhythm and run away with the games, as both opponents were unable to keep up in the second half.
Junior forward Jonathan Patron was honored before the Oswego game, as he scored his 1,000th career point on Jan. 26 against SUNY New Paltz.
Patron had dominant numbers on the weekend, putting up 30 points and 11 rebounds against Cortland to follow up his 27 points and 10 rebounds against Oswego. Patron received the SUNYAC Athlete of the Week accolade for the fourth consecutive week, and was named to d3hoops.com’s Team of the Week.
“It means a lot,” Patron said about the accolades and milestones. “It’s always a great thing to get the success and see all our hard work paying off. After how we played last season with me coming back, still dealing with an injury then, I can’t help but be confident in myself and my team with all the work we’ve been doing.”
With their record and great all-around team play, the Cards have clinched their spot as the number one team in the conference, and will be host for both the semifinals and finals of the SUNYAC Tournament on Feb. 23 and 24.
There are nothing but high hopes for the men’s team, as this time last year making the playoffs was a different story. Now, as the number one team, chemistry and confidence are at an all-time high.
“The chemistry is there, and I think you can see it clearly on the court,” junior forward Wayne Shi, one of the newest additions to the team this season, said. “We all like playing well together, whether its practice or during the games. It’s been one of the biggest causes for our success.”
No success comes without challenges. One of the biggest challenges for the team has been finding leadership.
“We were starting off the season trying to find someone to be comfortable to take that role,” team manager Jamal Muhammad said. “But we came to the conclusion that the team as a whole is mature to the point to not need one leader and hold one another accountable. Now we’re working like a well-oiled machine.”
The crowds at home games are ever-increasing in size as many students on campus believe that a championship is not a shot in the dark.
“I know these guys on the team, and they want this championship,” Thomas Johnston, a PSUC junior, said. “It’s something they’re always talking about. This team is too talented and playing really good. How can you stop them?”
With only two more weeks until playoffs, the team is trying to finish strong in their last three games of the season and be in perfect shape for the next step of competition.
Email John Melegos at firstname.lastname@example.org