ONEONTA — Plattsburgh State men’s basketball coach Tom Curle had reason to be in a good mood Saturday following a big win.
“We’re a 50 percent shooting team — 56 percent from the field, 58 percent from 3-point range and 52 percent from the foul line,” he joked.
“I said after (Friday’s) game that we had two areas we needed work on — defense and free throws. We played better defense (Saturday), but we need more work on our free throws in practice.”
The Cardinals (10-3, 4-2) made it a SUNY Athletic Conference weekend sweep on the road with an 84-73 win at Oneonta. The Red Dragons (8-6, 5-2) entered Saturday’s game with just one loss in the conference.
“There’s so much basketball left to be played in the conference and every game is important,” Curle said. “We were 2-2 in the conference going into the weekend and I felt we were every bit as good as 4-1 teams. We’ve played some of the better teams so far.
“What I like the most about the weekend is the way we overcame the adversity. It’s difficult on the road and the players stayed together and supported one another. They were there for each other when it counted.”
Saturday, the Cardinals got outstanding performances from John Perez, Shavar Fields and Chris Manning.
It was needed after leading scorer Shamoy McIntosh, who gave it a go in Friday’s victory at New Paltz, was unable to play because of an injury.
“Shamoy struggled to play (Friday),” Curle said. “He gave it a go, but it didn’t work out very well. We were able to win two games on the road despite not having our leading scorer out there.
“Oneonta had a lot of difficulty with Shavar, John and Chris at the rim. They made a concentrated effort to stop Ed (Correa) on the perimeter, but it was picking your poison. Shavar and John were able to get to the rim and Chris did a good job penetrating to the basket.”
Perez, who played very well both days, finished with 22 points, including 9-of-13 from the field, and eight rebounds. Fields also scored 22 points, including 8-of-13 from the floor. Manning went 6-of-10 from the field and ended up with 16 points, to go along with four steals.
“Chris always takes what’s there,” Curle said. “He’s always looking to find the shooter, but he scored today.”
“Chris, Shavar and John combined to go 23-of-36 from the field — that’s pretty good.”
The Cardinals held a 32-31 lead at the half, widened it out in the second stanza and were able to keep the Red Dragons at bay.
Oneonta did cut a 10-point deficit to two points — 63-61 — midway through. But the Cardinals, following a timeout, went on an 8-0 run to go back up by 10.
The Red Dragons wouldn’t seriously threaten after that.
“We executed our game plan pretty well defensively,” Curle said. “They tried to isolate players in the post against us, but we pressured the ball and didn’t allow that to happen. They made some bad passes.”
Oneonta turned the ball over 17 times, while Plattsburgh committed nine turnovers. The Cardinals finished with eight steals and the Red Dragons, five.
Leading scorer Zach Mager paced Oneonta with 28 points, but had to work for it with a 10-of-20 performance from the field. Jackson Zuvic added 12 points, Jack Dignan 11 and Mikey McElroy, 10.
The Cardinals have little time to rest before hosting Potsdam in SUNYAC play at 8 p.m. on Tuesday night.
Plattsburgh 84, Oneonta 73
Perez 9-4-22, Fields 8-6-22, Manning 6-1-16, Hodgson 3-0-7, Correa 2-1-6, Mitchell 2-1-7, Thomas 2-0-4, Baker 0-0-0, Sergiej 0-0-0. Totals: 32-13-84.
Mager 10-5-28, McElroy 4-2-10, Lee 1-0-3, Thomsen 1-0-3, Williams 1-0-3, Zuvic 5-0-12, Dignan 4-0-11, Brink 1-1-3, Massaroni 0-0-0, Hooks 0-0-0. 27-9-73.
Halftime: Plattsburgh, 32-31.
3-point goals: Plattsburgh (7): Manning 3; Mitchell 2; Hodgson; Correa. Oneonta (10): Mager 3; Dignan 3; Zuvic 2; Lee; Thomsen.