---- — 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.
“We are really happy he came here and he really provides a lot of toughness for us.”
Another newcomer who provided a calm demeanor on the court was transfer Chris Manning. He provided a lot of leadership and floor guidance in his first game in a Cardinal uniform, finishing with three points, six assists and three steals.
“A lot of our defensive pressure was started by Manning,” Curle said. “He starts it and we follow it.
“I also thought Jordan Moody played well defensively in the second half. He got his hands in the passing lanes and forced them to catch the ball a lot higher than they wanted to.”
Moody also provided some offense, scoring 12 points on the night. Shamoy McIntosh tallied 15 points and four steals for Plattsburgh.
Mike Mitchell had a solid floor game for the Cardinals, dishing out five assists compared to just two turnovers.
“We scored 80 and we missed a lot of open looks,” Curle said. “We have the propensity to make the extra pass and find the open guy, but we were just missing (Friday).
“If we can shoot better and play great defense, we will be alright.”
Ryan Sager had a nice inside game for Sage in the loss, scoring a game-high 25 points and hauling in seven rebounds. Mason Horne added 10 points and pulled in seven rebounds.
Former Northeastern Clinton standout, and Champlain Valley Athletic Conference MVP, Matt Farbotko played a superb game for the Gators. The senior scored 14 points and added six rebounds. Nine of his points came in the first half as he was able to keep Sage in the game.
“I thought Matt Farbotko played exceptionally well in his return to his hometown area,” Curle said. “He played a real smart ball game; I was happy for him.”
York 69, Norwich 59
Tony Vails scored 22 points and grabbed seven rebounds as the York Cardinals knocked off Norwich in the first game of the Cardinal Classic.
Donald Rodriguez added 15 points, including three 3-pointers, and six rebounds.
“This will be a completely different game,” Curle said of today’s contest with York. “They like to push the ball and are a very good passing team. They have kids who can shoot it and also can get to the rim.
“This will be a challenge for us. We will have to keep them in front of us one-on-one and help less from the perimeter. We can’t help too early and give up open perimeter shots.”
Evan Tullar tossed in 22 points and pulled down six rebounds for the Cadets. Jimmy Warden added 14 points and five boards
Plattsburgh State 80, Sage 62
Stopera 0-4-4, Horne 4-2-10, Nwanna 2-0-5, Farbotko 4-5-14, Sager 9-7-25, LaClair 0-0-0, Hennep 0-0-0, Paschal 1-0-2, LaBelle 0-0-0, Zurlo 0-0-0, Hornedo 0-0-0, Ford 0-2-2. Totals: 20-20-62.
Plattsburgh State (80)
Mitchell 1-0-3, Manning 1-1-3, Williams 1-0-2, Moody 4-4-12, Hodgson 9-1-20, Ottey 0-0-0, Outlaw 0-0-0, McIntosh 6-1-15, Baker 1-0-2, Parker 1-5-8, O’Shea 1-0-2, Correa 1-0-3, Siergiej 3-4-10. Totals: 29-16-80.
Halftime: Plattsburgh State, 38-27.
3-point goals: Sage (2) Nwanna, Farbotko. Plattsburgh State (6) Mitchell, Hodgson, McIntosh 2, Parker, Correa.
York 69, Norwich 59
Bobbitt 2-2-6, Lawson 2-0-6, Vails 9-4-22, Hart 3-0-6, Wilkinson 3-3-9, Trowers 0-0-0, Bowe 0-0-0, Zullo 0-3-3, Roper 0-0-0, Arroyo 1-0-2, Rodriguez 6-0-15. Totals: 26-12-69.
Havoutis 1-1-4, Tullar, 10-0-22, Preckol 0-2-2, Kuhre 0-0-0, McDonald 3-0-8, Torrence 1-0-3, Cabrera 2-2-6, Warden 4-6-14, Kelley 0-0-0, Marquis 0-0-0. Totals: 21-11-59.
Halftime: York, 30-29.
3-point goals: York (5) Lawson 2, Rodriguez 3. Norwich (6) Havoutis, Tullar 2, McDonald 2, Torrence.