PLATTSBURGH — John Perez said losing wasn’t an option Saturday.
Perez was one of four Plattsburgh State men’s basketball seniors recognized prior to the Cardinals’ 88-73 victory over Buffalo State at Memorial Hall to close out the SUNY Athletic Conference regular season.
The Bengals (12-13, 8-10) gave Plattsburgh all it wanted before the Cardinals (21-4, 15-3) were able to pull away late.
“It was a very important game for us,” Perez said. “It was a special day and an emotional one. There was no way we were going to lose.”
Perez certainly did his part after being held to one point and four rebounds in the first half. After intermission, the senior scored 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds to finish with 18 points and 13 boards. He went 10-for-11 from the line.
“Buffalo State matches up well with us,” Perez said. “We settled down defensively near the end and pushed the ball up court.”
Senior Shavar Fields led Plattsburgh offensively with 26 points, including 10-of-14 from the field, and hauled down eight rebounds.
Senior point guard Chris Manning added five assists and three steals in the victory, while Anthony Baker, the fourth Cardinal senior, chipped in with three points.
Edward Correa ended up with 16 points and Mike Mitchell followed with 10 on 3-of-3 shooting from the field and 2-of-2 from the line.
“We play 25 games during the regular season and we won 21 of them,” Plattsburgh coach Tom Curle said. “That’s not easy to do.”
Bradley Doyley led Buffalo State with 18 points, while standout Justin Mitchell finished with 17 points, including 8-of-10 from the field, and 18 rebounds as Buffalo State held a 50-41 rebounding edge.
“Buffalo State is athletic and Mitchell can shoot the ball, rebound and jump,” Perez said.
The Cardinals weren’t able to shake the Bengals until near the end.
Justin Mitchell hit two baskets in a row to pull Buffalo State to within five points, at 74-69. But then Plattsburgh took over, outscoring their foe by a 14-4 margin the rest of the way.