February 22, 2014

Cardinals clinch second seed in SUNYAC tournament

PLATTSBURGH — Plattsburgh State men’s basketball coach Tom Curle was in a good mood following Friday night’s game.

With good reason.

The Cardinals (20-4, 14-3) reached the 20-win plateau for the season and clinched the second seed in the SUNY Athletic Conference Tournament with an 87-63 victory over Fredonia at Memorial Hall.

“It’s only the second time in school history we’ve won 20 games in the regular season,” Curle said. “And, we were able to clinch a bye in the first round of the conference tournament.”

Edward Correa had the hot hand for the Cardinals on Friday, tossing in a game-high 26 points. He was 9-of-15 from the field and 8-of-13 from 3-point range.

“Ed can shoot it,” Curle said. “There was one time following a free-throw break where he hit three in a row.”

Shavar Fields added 18 points, including 13 in the second half, for the Cardinals, while John Perez had a double-double in the first half alone and finished with 11 points and 14 rebounds.

“John played a really good game,” Curle said. “With Shavar, he may well be the toughest player in the conference to guard 1-on-1 when he gets inside and works hard.”

Mike Mitchell helped out with nine points off the bench on a trio of 3-pointers, while point guard Chris Manning chipped in with team highs of 10 assists and five steals.

Curle was pleased with how well the Cardinals found the open man — something Plattsburgh has done well all season.

“There’s a reason why we’ve had nine players lead the team in scoring in a game this season,” he said. “The players find the open man and they get the ball to the guy who has the hot hand.”

Robert Lyles led the Blue Devils (6-18, 3-14) with 20 points, while leading scorer Tyrone Clark added 16. Clark, however, shot just 4-of-19 from the field.

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