By JOHN CORYER
---- — PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh State men’s basketball team could have made things a little easier on itself at times Friday night.
The Cardinals, however, were still able to grind out a 75-70 SUNY Athletic Conference victory over New Paltz at Memorial Hall.
Plattsburgh (9-5, 5-2) will look to make it a weekend sweep at home when Oneonta comes to town for a 4 p.m. contest today. The Red Dragons dropped an 82-62 decision at Potsdam on Friday night.
“Our first goal is to make the playoffs,” said Cardinals coach Tom Curle. “If we can get to 6-2 this weekend, that will leave us with 10 league games remaining — five on the road and five at home.
“Nine wins should get us into the playoffs. And if we can get to nine wins quickly, we can adjust our goals. That’s why winning two games at home this weekend is so important for us.”
Plattsburgh led, 30-28, at the half, but it could have been much more had the Cardinals made their layups.
The Cardinals, after trailing 4-3 early on, never lost the lead the rest of the half. Plattsburgh did hold a 13-4 advantage and a seven-point lead before the Hawks scored the final five points of the half.
A layup by 6-foot-7-inch Deveino McRae gave the Hawks (6-8, 4-3) a 35-32 lead early in the second half.
Curle then inserted 6-foot-6-inch Reggie Williams into the game and that’s when the contest started to go the Cardinals’ way.
Williams hit both his field-goal attempts and went two-for-two from the line, while grabbing four rebounds and dishing out two assists in 13 minutes.
“Their No. 50 (McRae) got inside and hit two layups early in the second half,” said Curle. “When we put Reggie in, it was a big body against a big body. Any thoughts No. 50 had of dominating inside ended when Reggie went in.
“He turned the game around for us.”
Shamoy McIntosh had a big game offensively for Plattsburgh with a game-high 23 points. John Perez, held to two points in the first half, was a major factor early on in the second half as he tallied 10 points after intermission and finished with eight rebounds.
“Shamoy had a big game for us both offensively and defensively,” said Curle. “And John is amazing — I don’t know how he does it inside.”
The Cardinals went up by nine, 51-42, in the second half before New Paltz trimmed it back to 52-49. Plattsburgh then widened the gap again, taking its biggest lead of the game at 65-53.
New Paltz, however, wouldn’t go away and got it down to five points a couple of times before the Cardinals took a 75-65 advantage in the final minute. The Hawks scored the final five points, including Matt Devine’s 3-pointer at the buzzer.
“We still have to develop a killer instinct,” said Curle. “We’re okay when we’re pushing the ball up the court, but sometimes when we walk the ball up the court and have to execute, we get stagnant.”
Kalik Parker added seven points and seven rebounds for Plattsburgh. Chris Manning and Mike Mitchell each dished out four assists.
Devine paced the Hawks with 22 points and added seven rebounds. Shereef Taylor was next with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Taylor Sowah was a third New Paltz player in double figures with 13.
Plattsburgh 75, New Paltz 70
New Paltz (70)
Taylor 4-4-13, Jenkins 1-0-3, Joseph 1-0-2, Devine 7-4-22, McRae 3-0-6, Donovan 1-0-2, Hulbert 2-0-6, Perlman 0-0-0, Sowah 3-6-13, Roach 1-0-2. Totals: 23-15-70.
Manning 1-3-5, McIntosh 8-4-23, Perez 4-4-12, Moody 2-1-5, Hodgson 1-0-3, Mitchell 1-4-6, Williams 2-2-6, Fields 1-3-5, Parker 2-1-7, Correa 1-0-3. Totals: 23-22-75.
Halftime: Plattsburgh, 30-28.
3-point goals: New Paltz (9): Devine 4; Hulbert 2; Taylor; Jenkins; Sowah. Plattsburgh (7): McIntosh 3; Parker 2; Hodgson; Correa.