Plattsburgh State 76 MIT 53
Cardinals took control of this game midway through the first half when they broke away from an 11-11 tie game with a 15-5 burst that opened up a double digit 26-16 lead. Ezra Hodgson who was the star of tonight's game canned a jumper and Xavier Thomas followed with a pair of free throws. Hodgson followed with another jumper but this was from behind the arc, and McIntosh followed that with a jumper of his own that resulted in another 3 points when he was fouled on the play. That made it 21-11 with the 10 straight points but MIT cut into the lead with 5 unanswered points of their own. Unanswered for only as long as it took Mike Mitchell to take an inbounds pass and leisurely walk the ball up the floor. When the MIT player guarding him backed off as Mike brought the ball in the frontcourt, Mike made him pay by swishing a bomb and on the Cards' next possession Hodgson was fouled and his two free throws made it a 10 point lead once again. MIT cut it back to 8 on their possession but the Cardinals' point guard, Chris Manning, was left unattended and Chris made them pay as he drained another Cardinal triple. Seconds later Alan Siergiej was the reciepient of a Manning pass after Chris stole the ball and fed the big guy for a layup. The lead was up to 13 which was the largest of the period with 3:23 left to play. The Engineers did get a nice basket from Dennis Levene right at the buzzer to cut the margin to 10 points, 33-23 at the break.
The second half started pretty much like the first half ended with Ezra Hodgson burying another 3 pointer and Shamoy McIntosh hitting one on the Cardinals' next trip down the floor. Back and forth action continued as MIT countered with a 3 point play by 6'8" big man Andrew Acker. The Engineers also got a pair of inside moves by another 6'8" big guy, Matt Redfield, and 6'6" forward Justin Pedley. Plattsburgh countered those with a pair of layups from their small forward, John Perez and the score was still a 13 point double digit lead at 43-30. Acker got loose inside for 2 more layups but Plattsburgh's MacIntosh buried another threeball and followed that up with an inside move of his own and the lead was 14 going on 17 as Hodgson hit another long range bomb. The closest the Engineers got after that was 14 points and Hodgson, with the Memorial Hall crowd chanting his name in unison ....Ezra, Ezra, Ezra,...drained back to back 3 pointers to boost the lead to 67-46 and it was time to warm up the bus, which the Plattsburgh student section was fervently telling the MIT bus driver to do. The lead grew to 26 points before a 3 pointer by MIT cut it to the final of 76-53.
Plattsburgh State played a great defensive game against the bigs from MIT. They really pressured whichever one got the pass inside with solid double teams all night long. When their bigs got the ball down low many times they ended up kicking it back out to the perimeter because the path to the basket was blocked. The Cards got outrebounded by a 37-31 margin, but it didn't help that the Cardinals best rebounder, John Perez, was saddled with fouls early in both halves. He only saw 5 minutes of action in the 1st half and only got 5 more minutes in the 2nd half. He went to the bench with 15 minutes left in the 2nd half when he picked up 2 quick fouls to give him 4 at that point. He re-entered the game with under 4 minutes to go and picked up his 5th foul seconds later. I don't think the refs liked him because they certainly had no business calling the fouls on JP that they did. Sadly, this was the first NCAA game of his stellar career (he was out last year with an injury) and the zebras took it away from him. The good news is that John should be well rested for tomorrow's encounter with Eastern Connecticut.
As I mentioned up above, the MVP of tonight's game was clearly Ezra Hodgson. Ezra had a game high 27 points tonight which is also a new career high for the junior forward. He was stroking the ball well tonight, as he usually does, but the Card's point guards Chris Manning and Mike Mitchell kept looking for Ezra and finding him. Ezra didn't let them down as he made 9 of 16 shots from the field, including 6x9 from behind the arc. So if we do some simple arithmetic we see that Ezra was only 3x7 inside the arc. Ezra...some advice,,,back up when you're not behind the 3 point line.
In addition to his 27 points Ezra had 7 rebounds, 2 steals, and a block in 37 minutes of court time.
Shamoy McIntosh returned to the lineup after missing the majority of the last regular season game and both the SUNYAC playoff games. The junior shooting guard picked right up where he left off as he scored 15 points (4x9 fg, 2x6 3's, 5x5 ft) and had 4 assists. He was also all over the court on defense and took a number of hits that had me holding my breath when he hit the floor. So afraid we were going to lose him with an injury again. Shamoy is still not 100% but we'll take what we can get at this point from one of our top offensive threats.
Alan Siergiej came off the bench and gave the Cardinals a big lift when John Perez got in foul trouble. The big guy had 10 points (4x6 fg, 2x4 ft) and 4 rebounds in 28 minutes plus he played excellent defense on the MIT bigs without getting a single personal foul. The 28 minutes represented a career high at Plattsburgh State.
John Perez only played 10 minutes but managed 8 points, 2 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 assist. His workday was cut short by a crew of zebras who had trouble deciding what was and what wasn't a foul from one minute to the next. Guys knocked to the floor and undercut couldn't get a whistle yet if John breathed hard on the man he was guarding he got flagged for a foul. Some real strange calls in this game.
Chris Manning is only 6 feet tall but had as many rebounds as all but one of the behemoths from MIT. Chris grabbed 7 boards, had 4 points, 4 steals and 2 assists. I know he had more than 2 assists so I'm guessing the stat crew missed a few or didn't give him credit for a couple of passes that resulted in points.
Mike Mitchell only took 2 shots but they were both 3 pointers and they were both nothing but net. He also had 3 assists and 2 rebounds in 16 minutes of playing time.
Xavier Thomas added 4 points and 4 rebounds off the bench.
The Cardinals outshot the Engineers in all 3 areas as they were 24x56 from the field (42.9%) to 19x48 for MIT (39.6%). Plattsburgh was 11x39 from long distance (37.9%) while MIT was only 5x22 (22.7%). The Cardinals were 17x23 from the line (73.9%) to 10x16 for MIT (62.5%) The taller Engineers did win the battle of the boards 37-31 but that 6 rebound margin came in the 1st half when they had 22 rebounds to 14 for Plattsburgh. The Cardinals outrebounded MIT in the 2nd half 17-15.
One of the biggest statistics that was instrumental in the Cardinals' victory was that Plattsburgh only had 5 turnovers that led to 6 MIT points. The Engineers had 17 turnovers that led to 17 Plattsburgh points. The defensive pressure that the Cardinals applied throughout the game, gave the taller and slower Engineers problems that they had trouble handling.
The Engineers were led by Andrew Acker who had 14 points (6x9 fg,2x5 ft) and a game high 10 rebounds. Acker also had 5 assists and a block. Justin Pedley also had double figures for MIT as he scored 10 points (3x14 fg, 2x11 3's, 2x2ft) and had 3 rebounds. Dennis Levene had 7 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 assists. Tim Butala had 7 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists.
The Engineers season comes to an end with an overall record of 20-9 and a NEWMAC championship and by any measure a successful season.
Plattsburgh State improves to 23-5 and will meet Eastern Connecticut to see who will advance to the Sweet 16 next weekend. The Warriors were an 81-75 winner over Husson earlier on Friday. The game will start at 7:00 PM on Saturday evening.