BUFFALO — Free-throw shooting has been a problem lately for the Plattsburgh State men’s basketball team.
Not so, however, on Friday night.
The Cardinals (12-3, 6-2) connected on 25-of-30 from the charity stripe and held off Buffalo State (7-8, 3-5) in SUNY Athletic Conference play.
“I took over coaching free-throw shooting from coaches (Cameron) Conover and (John) Konowitz,” joked Plattsburgh State coach Tom Curle.
“Chris Manning and Xavier Thomas both made some big free throws near the end and they had been struggling.”
The Cardinals, along with shooting 83 percent from the line, went 49 percent from the field and 10-of-19 from 3-point range.
Plattsburgh needed to shoot well to persevere.
“Buffalo State is a good team and they’re very talented,” Curle said. “They hit some shots. It came down to free throws because they were very hard to stop.
“When they missed, they were able to get offensive rebounds. Justin Mitchell (24 points) had nine offensive rebounds, including six in the second half. He’s a great player.”
Thomas led the Cardinals with 21 points and became the seventh Plattsburgh player to lead the team in scoring this season. Thomas also grabbed nine rebounds.
“He had a breakout game with his athleticism and rebounding,” Curle said. “He played a great game.
“It goes back on how we share the basketball well and look for players when they are playing well.”
Shavar Fields added 17 points, including 9-of-10 from the line, while Edward Correa finished with 15 points and John Perez 13. Chris Manning went 6-for-6 from the line and dished out 10 assists.
The Cardinals did commit 21 turnovers.
“We played well — it was one of those games that was chaotic,” Curle said. “They pressed us the entire game and there’s going to be turnovers. But we were still able to come out ahead.”
Roderick Epps added 20 points, Chris Boyd 16 and Legree Kirkland 10 for the Bengals. Epps and Boyd combined to hit their team’s nine 3-pointers.
Buffalo State got the early jump in the game, but Plattsburgh rallied before settling for a 45-43 halftime lead.
The Cardinals, who couldn’t shake the Bengals, held a fairly comfortable lead in the final seconds thanks to their efforts from the line.
Buffalo State hit a 3-pointer with three seconds left to close to within four.
“It was a fun game to watch,” Curle said. “Both teams were fast-breaking up the court and there were dunks.”
The Cardinals close out their road trip at 4 p.m. today at Fredonia. The Blue Devils knocked off Potsdam, 87-61, on Friday night with Tyrone Clark scoring 45 points in the victory.
“We have to make sure we perform well or(Friday’s) win doesn’t mean anything,” Curle said.
Plattsburgh 87, Buffalo State 83
Fields 4-9-17, Correa 5-0-15, Perez 5-3-13, McIntosh 2-2-8, Manning 0-6-6, Thomas 7-5-21, Hodgson 3-0-7, Mitchell 0-0-0, Siergiej 0-0-0. Totals: 26-25-87.
Buffalo State (83)
Mitchell 10-4-24, Epps 7-2-20, Kirkland 5-0-10, Thompson 4-1-9, Glover 0-0-0, Boyd 5-1-16, Doyley 0-4-4, Belton 0-0-0, Jordan 0-0-0, Miles 0-0-0, Smith 0-0-0, Buckley 0-0-0. Totals: 31-12-83.
Halftime: Plattsburgh State, 45-43.
3-point goals: Plattsburgh (10): Correa 5; McIntosh 2; Thomas 2; Hodgson. Buffalo State (9): Boyd 5; Epps 4.