By JOHN CORYER
---- — PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh State men’s basketball team, although is on a little roll itself, isn’t getting Potsdam State at the best time.
The two square off in SUNY Athletic Conference play at 8 p.m. tonight at Jerry Welsh Gymnasium.
The Bears (7-8, 3-5) are coming off a 2-0 conference weekend at home where they defeated Oneonta, 82-62, last Friday and knocked off New Paltz, 105-95, in double overtime on Saturday.
The Cardinals (10-5, 6-2) also went 2-0 at Memorial Hall, including a 75-70 victory over New Paltz and an 82-75 decision over Oneonta.
“Potsdam has won their last four games at home,” said Plattsburgh coach Tom Curle. “Even when they weren’t winning, they were playing against some tough teams. What they did last weekend was put themselves back in the playoff hunt. They’re going to give us all we’re worth and they would have to be considered the favorite in the game because of playing on their home court.”
The Cardinals, who were not at their best defensively in the win over Oneonta, will need to be much better tonight.
Potsdam is led in scoring by Curtis Pierce (18.0) and Mark Lake Jr. (17.3). In the double-overtime win over New Paltz, Lake fired in 34 points, Pierce 27 and Colin Peterson, 20.
Also averaging in double figures for the Bears is former Peru Central School standout Rob Duquette (10.2). Duquette, however, missed the Bears’ two games over the weekend with an injury and his status for tonight is not known.
“Pierce is a four-year starter for them and an all-conference player,” said Curle. “He is physically one of the strongest players in the conference. He has improved his ability to shoot the ball and can score a lot of different ways. He’s a handful.
“Lake is a one-year player for them — a senior point guard. He puts up a lot of numbers and, on film, gets to the rim as well as anyone. He can also shoot the three.
“Potsdam has some really good players who are tough to guard. They have a potent offensive team.”
Curle was not happy with everything he saw from his team last weekend.
“We did some things really well, especially when we ran,” he said. “But, when we slowed down, we were a different team. We have to really earn our baskets collectively as a team.
“We don’t have the flow of what we’re doing in our half-court game. We need to get the ball to people more effectively. We’ll work on that in practice on Monday before the Potsdam game.”
Plattsburgh also needs to do a better job finishing around the net after missing several layups in both games last weekend.
“That would help,” said Curle.
Still, Curle has plenty to be pleased about.
“We’re one of three teams in the conference with two losses,” he said. “Geneseo is 7-2, while Cortland and us are 6-2.
“We still have a lot of room for improvement but, despite that, we’re one of the top three teams in the conference right now.
We want to continue our success and get better with each game.”
Curle will know a lot more about his team in the next couple of weeks. The contest tonight is the first of five in a row on the road before the Cardinals end the regular season with five in a row at home.
“This will be a difficult stretch of five road games and it will tell us where we sit,” he said. “The Potsdam game is our last conference game in the first half of the season. It would be nice to be 7-2.”
Shamoy McIntosh (12.3) and John Perez (10.8) are the only two Plattsburgh players averaging in double figures.
The Cardinals, however, continue to use their bench effectively. Reggie Williams was a key player off the bench in the win over New Paltz and Mike Mitchell played a key role in the victory over Oneonta.
This weekend, the Cardinals play road games at Buffalo State on Friday and Fredonia on Saturday.