OSWEGO — Last season, the Plattsburgh State men’s basketball team made an early SUNY Athletic Conference statement with a win at Oswego.
The same didn’t happen on Friday night, however, when the Lakers eked out a 73-70 victory over the Cardinals in the conference opener for both teams.
Brian Sortino led Oswego (5-1, 1-0) with 24 points, including hitting 10-of-13 from the foul line. Daniel Ross followed with 18 points.
“They have a freshman point guard (Sortino) who was a lot better than we thought he was after watching him on film,” Plattsburgh coach Tom Curle said. “He was the difference in the game.”
Shavar Fields once again gave Plattsburgh (3-2, 0-1) a lift off the bench with a team-high 17 points.
Jordan Moody added 16 points, Shamoy McIntosh 14 and Edward Correa, 10. John Perez grabbed a team-high eight rebounds and Chris Manning added a team-high six assists.
It was an uphill climb for the Cardinals, who fell behind by 11 points — 39-28 — at the half.
“They knocked us back on our heels in the first half,” Curle said. “Maybe we were caught believing the hype too much because we weren’t up to the task.”
Plattsburgh battled in the second half and eventually rallied to take a 55-51 lead. But Oswego then went on a 11-0 run to grab the advantage at 62-55.
“At halftime, we made the adjustment we had to,” Curle said. “We took the lead, but then we just relaxed again. Then they took the lead. We didn’t run out of gas coming back — we didn’t have the focus and concentration.
“They were able to get a rebound here and there that hurt us. Right now, John Perez has to do it every night on the boards. We need someone else to step up.”
The Cardinals had one last comeback that ended when Moody hit a 3-pointer with three seconds left in regulation to make it 71-70.
But Sortino sank two from the line with two seconds remaining to give the Lakers a 3-point lead and Plattsburgh missed a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer.
“We made a game out of it and didn’t quit,” Curle said. “The positive is that we didn’t give up.
“But we didn’t handle their zone very well or defensively on the pick and roll. We have to get better.”
The Cardinals shot 48 percent from the field and 44 percent from 3-point range. What hurt Plattsburgh, however, was hitting just 12-of-25 from the foul line.
“We’ve been shooting 70 percent from the foul line,” Curle said. “But you can’t win a game like this shooting (under) 50 percent from the line.”
It doesn’t get any easier for Plattsburgh today. The Cardinals play a 4 p.m. contest at defending conference champion and unbeaten Cortland, which rolled to a 78-53 home win over Potsdam on Friday night.
“That’s going to be a tough game for us,” Curle said. “They’re going to play us tough defensively.”
Oswego State 73, Plattsburgh State 70
Plattsburgh State (70)
Moody 7-1-16, McIntosh 4-3-14, Hodgson 2-0-5, Perez 2-1-5, Manning 0-1-1, Fields 6-5-17, Correa 3-1-10, Thomas 1-0-2, Mitchell 0-0-0. 25-12-70.
Oswego State (73)
Sortino 7-10-24, Ross 7-2-18, Covley 3-1-8, Powell 3-1-7, Candelario 1-0-2, Tyson 2-0-5, Rawa 2-1-5, Rivers 2-0-4, Caruso 0-0-0, Sampson 0-0-0, McLaurin 0-0-0. Totals: 27-15-73.
3-point goals: Plattsburgh State (8): McIntosh 3; Correa 3; Moody; Hodgson. Oswego State (4): Ross 2; Covley; Tyson.
Halftime: Oswego State, 39-28.