PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh State men’s basketball team had high expectations heading into the 2013-14 season.
With good reason.
The Cardinals, with no seniors on the roster, finished the 2012-13 campaign with a 20-9 record and made it to the second round of the NCAA Division III Tournament at Amherst College where Plattsburgh was beaten.
The Cardinals have lived up to expectations this season, but there have been bumps in the road.
“We’re 24-5 this year and that’s not easy to do,” Plattsburgh coach Tom Curle said. “We’ve had five losses and we’ve been in those games.
“But we’ve had to overcome adversity. The players have believed in the program and realize the team is more important than individual accomplishments. This is the most fun year I’ve had as coach here.”
The Cardinals will make the return trip to Amherst to take on the seventh-ranked Lord Jeffs at 7:30 p.m. on Friday in the NCAA Tournament round of 16. Amherst is also the defending national champions.
To fully appreciate Plattsburgh’s season, it’s worth a look to see what the Cardinals have overcome.
Khalik Parker, a returning starter from last year, did not return to the team and reserve Reggie Williams, who gave the Cardinals some muscle underneath, was lost prior to the season with an injury.
Then Jordan Moody (11.8), a double-figure scorer, left the team after six games to pursue an internship.
Late in the regular season, Shavar Fields and Shamoy McIntosh, the two leading scorers on the team, were lost prior to the start of the SUNY Athletic Conference Tournament, with McIntosh being injured in the Cardinals’ final regular season game and Fields having to face disciplinary actions.
Plattsburgh would lose, 57-56, at The College of Brockport in the SUNYAC Tournament title contest.
Plattsburgh earned an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament and McIntosh returned this past weekend when the host Cardinals recorded regional wins over Massachusetts Institute of Technology (76-53) and Eastern Connecticut State (70-60) at Memorial Hall.