PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh State men’s basketball team played a near-flawless first half Friday night.
The Cardinals jumped out to a 52-25 halftime lead and recorded an 88-71 decision over Cortland in SUNY Athletic Conference play at Memorial Hall.
Edward Correa poured in 16 points and Ezra Hodgson 13 in the opening half as Plattsburgh (17-4, 11-3) jumped out to an early 23-4 and expanded its advantage to 27 following 20 minutes of play.
“That’s going to happen when you shoot 17-of-26 from the field and 8-of-13 from 3-point range in the first half,” Plattsburgh coach Tom Curle said.
“We played very well. We followed the game plan and our baskets came in the flow of our offense. And, it’s always good to have Correa and Hodgson start the game like they did with 3-pointers.”
Correa hit four 3-pointers and Hodgson three in the first 20 minutes.
Shavar Fields’ 2-pointer to begin the second half gave the Cardinals their biggest lead of the game, at 54-25.
But with Cortland reserve Blair Estarfaa lighting it up, the Red Dragons cut into the Cardinals’ huge advantage and eventually got their deficit down to 80-67 during the later stages of the contest.
That, however, would be as close as the Red Dragons (12-10, 7-8) would get.
John Perez hit a 2-pointer and then added a 3-point play to put the Cardinals back up by a 85-69 score.
“It’s part of sports everywhere — it’s human nature,” Curle said. “The players saw how their effort paid off in a big lead at the half and didn’t necessarily have that same kind of effort in the second half.
“But, when we needed a (defensive) stop, we were able to get it. And when we needed to make a basket, we were able to do so.”
Correa led five Plattsburgh players in double figures with 20 points, including five 3-pointers. Shamoy McIntosh added 16 points, Perez and Hodgson with 15 each and Fields, 10.
Hodgson missed just one shot from the field, going 6-of-7, while Perez was a perfect 7-of-7 from the foul line. Perez also led the Cardinals, who had a 39-29 rebounding edge, with six boards.
Chris Manning dished out a team-high seven assists before fouling out in the second half.
Estarfaa, who scored 11 of the Red Dragons’ 13 points to open the second half, tallied a game-high 22 points.
Cortland leading scorer Kevin McMahon was held to 13 points on 4-of-12 shooting from the field and Lamard Herron finished with 12 points.
“Fields did a great job on McMahon,” Curle said. “McMahon is their leading scorer and he came into the game averaging 17 points a game in the conference. Shavar was able to hold him scoreless in the first half.
“We went with a bigger starting lineup (Friday) to match them and that enabled John (Perez) to guard the perimeter. It was a very good night for us and it was a good start to the weekend.”
Plattsburgh is back on the court at 4 p.m. today, hosting Oswego. The Lakers were stunned, 68-66, in Potsdam Friday night when Joe Estramonte nailed a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer for the Bears.
“What’s nice is that we control our destiny the rest of the way,” Curle said. “With Brockport two games in front of us, we know what we need to do to take second. I was concerned going into (Friday’s) game.
“We have to take them one game at a time and we knocked off this one. We can’t take any game for granted and need to bring toughness (today) against Oswego.”
Plattsburgh 88, Cortland 71
Hefele 1-1-3, Herron 5-1-12, Kearney 0-0-0, McGowan 2-0-4, McMahon 4-5-13, Russo 0-0-0, Glascoe 3-1-7, Spendjian 1-1-3, Golden 0-0-0, Williams 2-3-7, Estarfaa 7-5-22. Totals: 25-17-71.
Correa 7-1-20, Manning 0-1-1, Perez 4-7-15, Fields 5-0-10, Hodgson 6-0-15, Mitchell 1-1-3, McIntosh 3-8-16, Thomas 2-3-7, Siergiej 0-1-1. Totals: 28-10-88.
Halftime: Plattsburgh, 52-25.
3-point goals: Cortland (4): Estarfaa 3; Herron. Plattsburgh (10): Correa 5; Hodgson 3; McIntosh 2.