AMHERST, Mass. — Tom Curle wants his young Plattsburgh State men’s basketball team to continue to get better and strive for a certain level.
The Cardinals saw that level Saturday afternoon.
No. 2-ranked Amherst College poured it on early and settled for an 89-72 victory over the Cardinals during second-round play in the NCAA Division III Tournament.
“We ran into a better team today,” Curle said. “All you have to do is look at the rebounding where they had a 49-28 edge.
“You could tell they’ve been to the tournament before and that this was the first time for our players. For us to be at this level, we have to work on our preparation, especially in the offseason.”
Aaron Toomey poured in a game-high 25 points for the Lord Jeffs (26-2), including 6-of-12 from 3-point range. Allen Williamson added 16 points and 11 rebounds, David Kalema 15 points off the bench and Willy Workman, 11 points.
Ezra Hodgson paced the Cardinals (20-9) with 14 points, followed by Shavar Fields and Edward Correau, both off the bench, with 13. Jordan Moody finished with 11 points and Reggie Williams, 10.
Chris Manning dished out seven assists for Plattsburgh and Moody added a team-high four steals.
Moody hit two free throws to give the Cardinals an early 8-7 lead.
But Amherst then went on an 11-0 run to grab an 18-8 lead and then went on another 13-0 burst that included a trio of 3-pointers on the way to a 37-15 advantage.
The Lord Jeffs led by as many as 26 points before the Cardinals rallied near the end of the opening half to cut their deficit to 50-37 after 20 minutes.
Amherst shot 55.9 percent from the field and 46.7 percent from beyond the arc in the first half. Those statistics were even better before the Lord Jeffs went a little cold late in the stanza.
Plattsburgh did everything it could to try to slow down Amherst, including a press.