By JOHN CORYER
---- — PLATTSBURGH — The energy wasn’t always there for the Plattsburgh State men’s basketball team Saturday afternoon.
Still, the Cardinals wrapped up their regular season with a 71-63 victory over Oswego in SUNY Athletic Conference play at Memorial Hall.
The Cardinals, despite not being at the top of their game, made the big plays when needed.
“You can tell by the Cortland/Potsdam score (a 69-56 Cortland win on Saturday) how much energy both teams expended last night,” Plattsburgh coach Tom Curle said.
“But good teams find a way to win. We forced just enough energy and made enough plays today to win.”
Plattsburgh, which recorded an exciting 80-77 win over conference regular season champion Cortland on Friday night, finished with an 18-7 overall record and a 14-4 SUNYAC mark, good for the second seed in the conference tournament.
“If you would have told me that after going 8-18 overall last year we would finish the regular season with an 18-7 record, a 14-4 record in the conference, including going unbeaten at home, and No. 2 seed in the playoffs, I’d definitely take it,” Curle said. “Wouldn’t you?
“It’s been quite a turnaround. I’m proud of the team. It’s been fun to see our team mature this season.”
Shamoy McIntosh, Jordan Moody and Ezra Hodgson led the Cardinals with 12 points each, while Reggie Williams also hit in double figures with 10. Williams grabbed seven rebounds, while Chris Manning and Shavar Fields each had six. Manning dished out five assists and recorded four steals.
Hayden Ward paced the Lakers (18-7, 11-7) with 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Chris Gilkes added 16 points.
The Cardinals never trailed in the game.
Plattsburgh took advantage of Oswego’s early cold shooting and scored 13 points in a row for a 19-6 lead.
But Sean Michele’s 3-pointer late in the half pulled the Lakers to within 27-26 before the Cardinals scored the final six points of the stanza for a 33-26 advantage.
“Sometimes that happens when we get out to a big lead in the first half,” Curle said. “We think we can do anything we want.”
Plattsburgh then held leads of 46-33, 52-39, 58-46 and 62-51 in the second half, but were not able to put away Oswego.
“Whenever we got a big lead in the second half, we stopped what we were doing that got us the lead,” Curle said. “We were taking quick shots. We were getting good looks when we ran our offense.”
The Lakers made one last run when two free throws by Gilkes cut the Cardinals’ edge to 62-58.
But Hodgson nailed a baseline jumper, Williams hit a layup and Moody connected on 1-of-2 from the line to make it 67-58. The closest the Lakers got the rest of the way was seven points.
The Cardinals were able to execute down the stretch, both offensively and defensively.
“McIntosh made some key plays for us offensively down the stretch,” said Curle. “And we drew a couple of late offensive charges.
“We showed a winning spirit down the stretch. It was a big win for us depending on what happens from now on.”
The Cardinals shot 43.3 percent from the field, but were only 27.8 percent from 3-point range and 56 percent from the foul line.
Plattsburgh also got outrebounded, 44-35, but had 13 assists as compared to Oswego’s seven, and only 10 turnovers as compared to the Lakers’ 18.
The Cardinals also held the Lakers to 33.3 percent shooting from the field and 27.3 from 3-point range.
The Cardinals will play in the SUNYAC Tournament Final Four semifinals on Friday at top-seeded Cortland against an opponent yet to be determined.
Plattsburgh 71, Oswego 63
Gilkes 5-5-16, Mirabito 0-0-0, Michele 2-0-6, Ward 4-7-17, Nollet 1-3-5, Ross 1-6-8, McLaurin 0-0-0, Sampson 4-0-8, Covley 1-0-3, Rawa 0-0-0, Powell 0-0-0. Totals: 18-21-63.
Manning 3-2-9, McIntosh 5-2-12, Williams 5-0-10, Moody 3-6-12, Hodgson 5-0-12, Mitchell 2-1-6, Tibbs 0-0-0, Fields 2-2-6, Parker 0-1-1, Correa 1-0-3. Totals: 26-14-71.
Halftime: Plattsburgh, 33-26.
3-point goals: Oswego (6): Michele 2; Ward 2; Gilkes; Covley. Plattsburgh (5): Hodgson 2; Manning; Mitchell; Correa.