PLATTSBURGH — The biggest positive for the Plattsburgh State men’s basketball team Tuesday night was the end result.
The Cardinals (11-3, 5-2) pulled away down the stretch for a 73-58 victory over Potsdam (2-12, 0-7) in SUNY Athletic Conference play at Memorial Hall.
But for a team expecting to challenge for conference honors this season, it wasn’t a solid performance for the Cardinals.
“It’s hard to convince players,” Plattsburgh coach Tom Curle said. “We tell them that Potsdam is a good team that can shoot the ball.
“But with the Internet now, the guys look at another team’s statistics and think how easy the game will be.”
Plattsburgh held a 59-52 lead and then went on a 14-6 run to finish off the game, with 10 of those points coming from the foul line.
“I’m happy with the win — a win’s a win,” Curle said. “But I didn’t think we took a step forward (Tuesday).
“We didn’t play well defensively. We were trying to direct players where we would get help. Help should be there if you need it, but you can’t just like the player drive to the rim for easy baskets. We let them get to the rim too easily on their first move.
“We had some steals, but that can be fool’s gold.”
Plattsburgh also didn’t shoot the ball particularly well.
The Cardinals finished just 38 percent from the field, 22 percent from 3-point range and 67 percent from the line.
“We won because we have good players,” Curle said. “To have a good team, you need to have good players.”
Edward Correa, Shamoy McIntosh and Shavar Fields led the Cardinals with 15 points each, with Fields going 9-of-10 from the line to go along with seven rebounds. McIntosh was 6-of-6 from the line.
John Perez added 10 points and nine rebounds, while Chris Manning followed with eight assists and five steals, and Xavier Thomas eight points and seven boards.
Zac Adams led the Bears with 12 points and Tom Graf added 11. Former Peru Central School standout Rob Duquette was saddled with foul trouble all game and finished with six points and a rebound before fouling out with 6:39 left.
“I thought Perez played well defensively in the post on Duquette and McIntosh played good defense on the ball,” Curle said.
Neither team shot 40 percent from the floor and Potsdam had one more field goal, 24-23, than Plattsburgh. The Cardinals, however, outscored the Bears, 22-5, from the line, going 22-of-33 and Potsdam, 5-of-11.
Plattsburgh jumped out to an early 13-6 lead, only to have Potsdam rally to take a 23-18 advantage before the Cardinals settled for a 36-35 halftime lead.
The Cardinals widened their advantage in the second half and went up, 55-45, midway through on Manning’s 3-pointer. The Bears cut it to seven points three times before the Cardinals were able to pull away.
Plattsburgh closes out the first half of its conference schedule at Buffalo State and Fredonia over the weekend.
“We’re 5-2 in the conference and 11-3 overall,” Curle said. “Once the weekend is over, we’ll know more about where we stand in the conference.
“We have 11 conference games remaining and our seniors have to recognize that. We have to become a better team. But what I like is that we stay together as a team and we share the basketball extremely well.”
Following the weekend, the Cardinals will play six of their final nine conference games at Memorial Hall.
Plattsburgh 73, Potsdam 58
Williams 2-2-6, Estramonte 3-0-8, Peterson 3-0-6, Duquette 3-0-6, Adams 6-0-12, Hendricks 2-3-7, Blagrove 1-0-2, Graf 4-0-11, Engle 0-0-0. 24-5-58.
Correa 6-0-15, Manning 2-0-5, McIntosh 4-6-15, Perez 4-2-10, Fields 3-9-15, M. Mitchell 0-2-2, Outlaw 0-0-0, Thomas, 3-2-8, Baker 0-0-0, Siergiej 0-0-0, Dweck 0-0-0, O. Mitchell 0-0-0, Hodgson 1-1-3. Totals: 23-22-73.
Halftime: Plattsburgh, 36-35.
3-point goals: Potsdam (5): Graf 3; Estramonte 2. Plattsburgh (5): Correa 3; Manning; McIntosh.