PSU hopes to polish game up

KAYLA BREEN/STAFF PHOTOPlattsburgh State's Axel Rodriguez (right) gets past Buffalo State's Sheldon Adams and works his way into the paint during a SUNYAC men's basketball game, Feb. 8, at Memorial Hall.

PLATTSBURGH — Two tough opponents await.

The Plattsburgh State men’s basketball team will be on the road this weekend to play Oswego (15-5, 9-4) at 7:30 p.m. today and Cortland (13-7, 7-6) at 4 p.m. Saturday.

The Cardinals (8-13, 5-9) know they’ll have to combine their effort with execution to have a chance to succeed against the Lakers and Red Dragons.

“We did a lot of film this week where we showed a lot of plays that we gave a lot of effort on but did not execute,” Plattsburgh coach Mike Blaine said. “It’s a waste of effort if you are giving that away with lack of execution. We really need to put it all together to make this all work.”

Plattsburgh sits a half game back of Geneseo for the sixth spot in the SUNYAC.

The Knights picked up a 78-62 win against Buffalo State, Tuesday, and have three games left on their schedule with road visits to Brockport, Oswego and Cortland.

Following their weekend set with the Lakers and Red Dragons, the Cardinals wrap up the regular season with home games against New Paltz and Oneonta.

“We are looking at this weekend as a tremendous opportunity,” Blaine said. “Our goal is to put ourselves in the playoffs this year. To do that, we have to go up against two high-caliber teams that will be challenging and are playoff teams.”

Plattsburgh grabbed a 76-72 win at home over Cortland earlier this season and lost to Oswego, 63-44.

“This might be the toughest back-to-back set in the league this season,” Blaine said.

“Oswego and Cortland are coached well, and we have to be ready to react to whatever wrinkles they may throw our way. It’s not good enough to play hard. We have to raise our compete level.”

Austin Grunder puts up 22.2 points and 15 boards per game for the Red Dragons, while three other members of Cortland average double figures in the points category.

The Lakers have been a well-rounded team in terms of scoring and are led by Joe Sullivan’s near double-double average of 14.7 points and 9.3 rebounds a game.

The Cardinals will look to shut down their opponents’ key pieces and follow through on what has been stressed in practice this week.

“There’s been a couple things we’ve really concentrated on,” Blaine said.

“We are trying to make sure to execute our switches properly. We have to make sure we are sending ball handlers the way we want on defense. Offensively, we need to be anticipating our catches and get into scoring positions a lot quicker.

“We have done all those things well at times, but we need to make those things, and every other part of our game, a constant.”

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Twitter: @JoeyLaFranca

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