BY RICKY ST. CLAIR
---- — PLATTSBURGH — Paul Smith’s College opened Thursday’s game with multiple defensive looks that appeared to be impenetrable.
But the Clinton Community College’s ability to control the tempo and capitalize on quality opportunities proved to be the difference-maker.
The Cougars (2-1) outscored the Bobcats by a 22-point margin in the second half, while Mykell Crecko, Chris Miller, and Kyree Hull finished in double figures in an 89-55 men’s basketball victory.
“You’ve got to rebound before you can break, and we did a pretty good job on the glass,” Clinton coach Kevin Daugherty said. “We thought we were poor defensively Tuesday night, and there’s no reason for it because we’re athletic and quick. We had a great one-hour practice (Wednesday) night with a lot of intensity, and it carried over (Thursday).”
Miller led all scorers with 18 points and scored a majority of his buckets on the fast break, while former Northeastern Clinton standout Jamie Davison totaled five points to go along with seven steals and seven assists.
“(Miller) works hard, and he’s a second-year guy, so he knows what he’s doing out there,” Daugherty said. “He’s a leader and provided a spark early on.”
Crecko, a physical 6-foot-9 presence in the post, finished the contest with 12 points and eight blocked shots.
“(Crecko) gets his nose in there and has a great wingspan,” Daugherty said. “He’s good at blocking shots because of great timing.”
The Cougars had six players come off the bench and provide 32 points throughout the contest.
“It’s nice to see guys come off the bench and do well, especially when we like to play up-tempo,” Daugherty said. “If we get in foul trouble, it’s nice to have some depth.”
Despite the victory, Daugherty recognized two facets of the game he hopes his team can improve on moving forward.
“We have to play real good defense consistently night in and night out,” he said. “To win in this region, especially with all of the talent we’re playing — that’s a must. We also need to do a better job with our half-court offense.
“That’s something that takes time, and I understand that. We’ve got 14 freshmen on a 16-man roster, but if we can get comfortable with the half-court offense and keep bringing it defensively, we’ll be in good shape.”
Hull, who opened the regular season with 29- and 25-point games, was able to convert 11 points in the final 20 minutes of play. The first-year player from Peekskill finished the evening with 15 points and nine boards.
The Cougars travel to Schenectady Community College Saturday for a 3 p.m. contest.
Clinton 89, Paul Smith’s 55
Paul Smith’s (55)
Medina 3-3-11, Wightman 2-2-6, Klock 1-0-3, Carr 3-3-10, McCuin 2-1-5, Odell 5-0-10, Polotrak 1-0-2, Hapgood 0-0-0, Senthil 3-08. Totals: 20-9-55.
Crecko 5-2-12, Miller 8-2-18, LaPoint 3-2-9, Hull 6-2-15, Davison 2-0-5, Spencer 0-0-0, Young 0-0-0, Radan 0-2-2, Knight 0-4-4, Coolidge 0-0-0, Chabau 3-2-8, Sutton 2-0-6, Martinez 2-2-6, Campbell 2-0-4, Gray 0-0-0, Antamolagun 0-0-0. Totals: 33-18-89
3-point goals: Paul Smith’s (6) Medina 2, Senthil 2, Klock, Carr. Clinton (5) Sutton 2, LaPoint, Hull, Davison.
Halftime: Clinton 37-25.