Press-Republican

Sports

February 22, 2013

Cardinals playing well at right time

PLATTSBURGH — Plattsburgh State men’s basketball coach Tom Curle says his team hasn’t reached its full potential yet.

But he likes what he sees so far.

“I feel we’re peaking at the right time, even though we could still be playing better,” he said. “We are playing our best basketball of the season right now.

“This is the most improved team over the course of a season that I’ve ever coached.”

The Cardinals (18-7, 14-4), are the second seed in the SUNY Athletic Conference Tournament and, following a bye in the first round, will take part in this weekend’s final four being held at top-seeded Cortland.

Plattsburgh will tangle with third-seeded Geneseo (17-9, 12-6) in tonight’s 6 p.m. semifinal, followed by Cortland (21-5, 15-3) against fourth-seeded Oswego (19-7, 11-7).

The tournament championship game is set for 4 p.m. on Saturday.

The Cardinals have won 11 of their last 13 games, including five in a row at home to end the regular season.

Shamoy McIntosh is the only active player on the Plattsburgh roster averaging in double figures at 12.2 points a game. Jordan Moody is next at 9.5.

Point guard Chris Manning leads the team in assists (5.9) and steals (3.9), which leads all of Division III.

Getting key contributions off the bench has also helped the Cardinals achieve a turnaround season from a year ago.

“I think the players are highly confident,” Curle said. “A lot of that is due to the leadership we’re getting from the players. Players like Chris Manning are going to instill some confidence.”

Curle, however, is concerned with the team’s rebounding.

Junior forward John Perez, who was recently lost for the season with a leg injury, was the second-leading scorer on the team.

But where the Cardinals miss Perez the most is on the boards, where the crafty 6-foot-3 standout led the team in rebounding.

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