BROCKPORT — Plattsburgh State men’s basketball coach Tom Curle said this weekend would be an opportunity for his team to prove itself.
The Cardinals (16-3, 10-2) took advantage of their first opportunity Friday night by holding on for a 92-89 victory at The College at Brockport (16-2, 10-1), handing the No. 15-ranked Golden Eagles their first loss in conference play.
“This was a really good win for us,” Curle said. “It was just a good college basketball game. There wasn’t a lot of execution, guys were coming at one another hard, and there were a lot of fouls.
“It was a loud, raucous gym and I was proud of our guys.”
The Cardinals had to overcome a 40-point performance from Brockport star John Ivy, who connected on 17-of-18 from the foul line.
“Our forwards were scoring and their guards were scoring,” Curle said.
“Every time Ivy went to the rim, we were fouling him. He’s a really good athlete who gets low and goes to the rim. Sometimes, he initiates the contact and sometimes we do. He was getting the benefit of the calls.”
Shavar Fields led the Cardinals with 23 points, while John Perez added 21 points and 15 rebounds.
Ezra Hodgson was a major factor off the bench with 15 points. Xavier Thomas chipped in 12 points and Shamoy McIntosh, 11.
Brandon Caruthers and Clifton Lyerly added 11 points each for the Golden Eagles, but Caruthers, a major key in Brockport’s earlier victory in Plattsburgh, finished just 2-of-11 from the field.
The two teams combined to shoot 87 free throws, with the Cardinals going 33-of-46 and Brockport, 32-of-41.
“Hodgson made two big free throws for us near the end and McIntosh, who missed two earlier foul shots, then hit two key ones,” Curle said.
Plattsburgh opened up a 43-36 lead in the first half and Brockport made a number of runs at the Cardinals in the second half.
“They never tied the game,” Curle said.
Hodgson hit a couple of free throws in the closing seconds to make it 90-87.
“We fouled them with seven seconds left, not allowing them to take a three,” Curle said. “They hit two from the line, but then McIntosh hit two for us to make it 92-89.
“I think they were expecting us to foul again, but this time we didn’t and stood tall on defense. They took a 3-pointer that missed by quite a bit.”
Both teams struggled from 3-point range. Plattsburgh was just 3-of-19 from beyond the arc and Brockport, 3-of-18. The Cardinals held a 55-47 rebound advantage and recorded nine steals.
“Players were running at one another with a lot of enthusiasm and it wasn’t easy to shoot the basketball,” Curle said.
The Cardinals close out the important weekend on the road today at 4 p.m. against Geneseo. Plattsburgh didn’t get any help from Potsdam, which dropped a 78-61 decision to the Knights on Friday night.
“The Geneseo game will be a completely different game,” Curle said. “If we’re the best team in the conference, we’ll win it.
“We were down a little bit when we lost to Brockport in Plattsburgh. But we’ve gotten on a roll and won our last eight games. We can’t back away from that and need to keep it going.”
Plattsburgh 92, Brockport 89
Fields 7-9-23, Perez 6-9-21, McIntosh 2-6-11, Manning 2-2-6, Correa 0-2-2, Hodgson 4-5-15, Thomas 6-0-12, Siergiej 1-0-2, Mitchell 0-0-0. Totals: 28-33-92.
Ivy 11-17-40, Caruthers 2-6-11, Adenran 3-1-7, Hayden 2-2-6, Lee 0-0-0, Lyerly 4-3-11, Coyle 3-3-9, Bell 1-0-3, Gallagher 1-0-2, White 0-0-0, Pierre 0-0-0. Totals: 27-32-89.
Halftime: Plattsburgh, 43-36.
3-point goals: Plattsburgh (3): Hodgson 2; McIntosh. Brockport (3): Ivy; Caruthers, Bell.