It was a spectacular weekend for the Plattsburgh State men’s basketball team as they welcomed two SUNYAC opponents to Memorial Hall.
The Cardinals added two more to the win column, standing at 17-3 overall and 12-1 in the SUNYAC conference after defeating the Oneonta State Red Dragons in an exciting finish 92-87 and the New Paltz Hawks 102-64.
However, coming into the weekend following the sweep on the road against Buffalo State and Fredonia, head coach Tom Curle wasn’t happy with how the team looked on the floor, saying they had seemed tired and didn’t play their best basketball.
“We didn’t play poorly offensively, in particular, but defensively and rebounding — we didn’t do a great job,” Curle said.
This past weekend though was a complete turn-around from the previous in regard to their defense as well as rebounding. Friday night, the Cards hosted the Red Dragons in their second matchup of the season. Unlike last time, the Red Dragons were a thorn in the side to the Cards, coming out strong with an early and commanding lead. However, they were resilient and ended the first half strong and came out firing on all cylinders to start the second.
The final minutes of the game came down to intentional fouls and key free throws, which PSUC was able to convert at the line to help seal a five-point victory over Oneonta.
Senior Edward Correa manned the floor for 36 minutes for the Cards last Friday, which is nothing unusual for the accomplished guard. Correa averages 34.9 minutes per game this year and is no stranger to these important games late in the season.
“I’ve been to the SUNYAC Championship three times, and it’s so much better playing at home than away in the championship,” Correa said about clinching a playoff spot, emphasizing how important the last five games of the season are.
In the game against the Hawks, Correa was locked in from behind the arc. Amidst the 38-point victory, he led the Cards with 24 points, going 6-8 from 3-point land in only 27 minutes.
Correa’s leadership this season, along with accompanying seniors Kyle Richardson and Xavier Thomas, has propelled confidence in the backups and younger teammates.
“They keep up with us in practice, and the more we challenge them, the better they’re going to get,” Correa said.
On the Saturday matinee against New Paltz, freshman Isaiah Hill came off the bench to put in six points and an enthusiastic block, getting the crowd off their feet.
“It was a huge confidence booster,” Hill said after the game. “Whenever our starters can get out there and do what they have to do and have us bench players get in and get minutes and have some fun, it’s really good for the team.”
The PSUC bench put up a total of 94 points this weekend: 42 on Friday and 52 on Saturday.
Prior to the Cards’ weekend sweep, Curle said the games against Oneonta and New Paltz were going to be good challenges and wanted the Cards to just focus on what they had to do to win, which they did in style — clinching a playoff spot in the meantime.
The Cards’ next tasks will be at Memorial Hall against SUNY Cortland tonight and Oswego State tomorrow afternoon.
In a road trip earlier in the season, the Cards defeated Oswego State and SUNY Cortland, 85-68 and 75-68, respectively.
Email Ezra Kachaturian at email@example.com