March 15, 2014

Lord Jeffs end Cardinals' season for second straight year

AMHERST, Mass — The Plattsburgh State men’s basketball team needed a lot of things to go its way Friday night.

They didn’t.

Defending national champion Amherst College roared out to a 49-29 halftime lead at LeFrak Gymnasium and ended the Cardinals’ season with an 87-63 victory in the NCAA Division III Tournament sectionals.

It marked the second year in a row the Lord Jeffs have eliminated Plattsburgh from the post season.

The Lord Jeffs (26-3) will oppose Morrisville State, an 88-81 winner over Richard Stockton in the first game Friday night, at 7 p.m. tonight, with the survivor moving into the final four.

“Amherst is good — with their starting five it was pick your poison,” Plattsburgh coach Tom Curle said.

Amherst shot 55.4 percent from the field, 44.8 from 3-point range and 80 percent from the line.

“Every time we would make a run, they would hit a couple of 3-pointers to kill our momentum,” Plattsburgh senior point guard Chris Manning said. “They didn’t surprise us with anything, but they were able to respond to everything we did.”

The Lord Jeffs’ starting five all ended up in double figures. Tom Killian led the way with 22 points, followed by Aaron Toomey and Connor Green with 15 each, David George with 13 and David Kalema, 12.

Toomey dished out 12 assists, while George, who is 6-foott-8-inches and athletic, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked nine shots. Killian nailed four 3-pointers, while Toomey and Green each had three.

“We knew they were going to shoot a lot of 3-pointers,” Curle said. “We went into the game wanting to limit Toomey’s assists on his first pass, but he still had 12 assists.”

Senior John Perez worked hard inside, despite George’s presence, and led the Cardinals (24-6) with 16 points and eight rebounds.

“We’ve played against tall teams this year,” Perez said. “In the second half, I was able to make some moves and get inside. But he (George) still had nine blocks against us.”

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