January 7, 2014

Plattsburgh State travels to take on Middlebury

PLATTSBURGH — Tom Curle can’t say enough good things about the Middlebury College men’s basketball team.

Curle’s Plattsburgh State team closes out the nonconference portion of its schedule against the Panthers at 8 p.m. tonight in Middlebury.

Last season, nationally-ranked Middlebury recorded an 80-73 win over Plattsburgh at Memorial Hall.

“Middlebury is well coached,” Curle said. “They shoot the ball well and run their stuff. They are tough at home and their players have played in some very big games, including the NCAA Tournament.

“They will push the ball. Middlebury has some very strong inside guys who can score in the post. They are a good offensive rebounding team. We will need to play very well defensively and protect the paint, holding them to one shot. This is going to be a difficult match-up for us.”

The Panthers, who are 6-3 overall, last played on January 2 in a 76-69 loss at Salve Regina. Middlebury, which competes in the NESCAC, is averaging 84 points a game and surrendering 77.

The Panthers have five players in double figures — Joey Kizel (18.0), Dylan Sinnickson (14.5), Hunter Merryman (14.4), James Jensen (12.5) and Matt St. Amour (10.0). Sinnickson, however, played in only the first two games of the season before being injured.

“They lost a couple of seniors from last year,” Curle said. “Middlebury is currently ranked 19th in the country (in Division III), but they lost their last game. They have lost two games against very good teams.

“Kizel is a key player for them. He is sound fundamentally. He hits big outside shots for them, but can also get to the rim and go to the line a lot. He doesn’t make many mistakes and knows how to draw contact.

“Sinnickson might be back to play against us. He was dressed for their last game, but didn’t play.”

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