PLATTSBURGH — This weekend marks the most difficult road trip the Plattsburgh State men’s basketball team will have during the regular season.
The Cardinals (15-3, 9-2 SUNYAC), one of the top three teams in the SUNY Athletic Conference standings, will play the other two this weekend — tonight at unbeaten Brockport and Saturday at Geneseo.
“No doubt, this is a difficult weekend for us,” Plattsburgh coach Tom Curle said. “But we can’t shy away from the fact that this is a big opportunity for us.
“A .500 record will get you into the conference tournament, and we’re in no matter what. But after this weekend is over, we’ll see where we sit.”
Plattsburgh is coming off last weekend’s SUNYAC sweep at Memorial Hall, including a solid 77-54 win over Oneonta and then a 90-78 victory over New Paltz.
“Each game is different, and I know some would say we didn’t play that well against New Paltz,” Curle said. “But we still won by 12 points, and winning by that many points doesn’t come often in the conference.
“We’re 15-3 overall for a reason — we have pretty good players. They’re not going to back away from anyone or the challenge. They will come ready to play this weekend.”
Shamoy McIntosh (14.9), Shavar Fields (13.8), John Perez (11.8) and Edward Correa (10.6) are all averaging in double figures for the Cardinals. Perez averages 8.5 rebounds and game, and Chris Manning dishes out 5.1 assists per contest.
Brockport (16-1, 10-0) remained unbeaten in the conference with last weekend’s 73-68 home victory over Geneseo. The Golden Eagles trailed for much of the game before rallying to win in overtime.
“Brockport goes on those crucial 8-0 and 10-0 runs,” Curle said. “You have to guard against turning the ball over because that ignites them.
“Geneseo had a 9-point lead and then they had three consecutive turnovers that resulted in Brockport getting back to within one.”
The Cardinals recorded a 97-85 victory over Geneseo on Jan. 10 before struggling down the stretch for a rare home loss the day after to Brockport.
Standout John Ivey, who averages 22 points game, and Brandon Caruthers, who averages 13.2, both hurt the Cardinals the first time they played the Golden Eagles.
“Ivey leads the conference in scoring, and he and Caruthers are both very good players,” Curle said. “It’s going to be an up-and-down game, but you never know how many points are going to be scored. It will be a hard-fought game, and we have to be ready to win any type of game.
“It’s going to come down to which backcourt can control the game. You can hurt them on back doors and penetration. But you have to make sure when you do make a turnover, it doesn’t lead to two, three or four.”
Things won’t get any easier the following day when the Knights (14-3, 8-2) will be out for some revenge for the earlier loss to the Cardinals.
Plattsburgh will have little time to rest following the Brockport showdown, and it would be a benefit for the Cardinals to have Potsdam play a competitive game tonight against the Knights.
Following the loss in Plattsburgh, Geneseo ran off eight wins in a row before the setback to Brockport.
Gordon Lyons (19.5), Connor Fedge (16.7) and Matt Curry (10.5) are the leading point-producers for Geneseo.
“Geneseo is playing well right now and they’re tough and strong,” Curle said. “They have a strong inside presence in Lyons, who is shooting 65 percent from the field in the conference. As a team, they shoot 50 percent.
“They execute their offense and aren’t afraid to run it. They’re averaging 81 points a game overall and 78 points in the conference.”
When the weekend in completed, Plattsburgh will have five SUNYAC regular-season games remaining, and four of them will be at Memorial Hall.