BY KEITH KANE
PLATTSBURGH — Plattsburgh State took to the court Friday night with a large percentage of its point production from last season sitting on the bench due to injury.
The Cardinals were without starters Shavar Fields and John Perez, and inside presence Gary Tibbs.
That didn’t stop Plattsburgh, though.
Ezra Hodgson, coming off a strong freshman season, poured in a team-high 20 points and pulled down five rebounds to lead the Cardinals to an 80-62 victory over Sage College in the first round of the Cardinal Classic at Memorial Hall.
Plattsburgh will take on York College, a 69-59 winner over Norwich, in the championship game today at 4 p.m. The Cadets and Gators will battle in the consolation contest at 2 p.m.
“We had 10 guys with double figures in minutes (played) tonight,” Cardinals coach Tom Curle said. “And we had another three guys get into the game. Not to mention we had three guys on the bench who can play.
“There are going to be some nights that we go 12-to-13 deep, but the kids are going to need to learn to be patient. Everything we do is going to be predicated by our defense.”
Plattsburgh took the lead very early in the game on a Hodgson 3-pointer to make it 6-3 and the lead was never relinquished.
Despite not playing with some key players, a lot of others were able to step up, including some newcomers.
Alan Siergiej, a transfer from New Paltz, provided a strong spark off the bench for Plattsburgh. The 6-foot-6-inch sophomore tallied 10 points, pulled down eight rebounds and altered numerous shots in the middle of the paint for the Cardinals.
“Alan is tough as nails,” Curle said. “And, I think his teammates realized just how tough he was before we (the coaches) did.