The Cortland Men’s basketball squad defeated Plattsburgh at home on Friday evening 80-59 to advance their record to 9-4 in the SUNYAC standings. The Red Dragons were led by Justin Cooper’s 23 points, 9 rebounds, and strong defense.
The night was being held in honor of “Red Dragons Support Cortland” a fundraising event to donate money to Loaves and Fishes, a local soup kitchen. For every 3-pointer Cortland made, $5 was donated on behalf of Cortland Athletics. If a Cortland player dunked, $10 was donated.
Cooper was a philanthropist Friday evening, soaring through the air for a two-handed slam in the first half. He also went three of five from 3-point range, totaling $25 being donated to Loaves and Fishes thanks to his play.
“That’s awesome. It’s nice always helping out the community because they do so much for us. Whether we go out to eat at restaurants, or just the people that work on campus, it’s really cool to give back.” Cooper said.
Cortland needs to run the table in order to maintain their number four seed in the SUNYAC standings and possibly climb up to the two seed if things go their way.
“I think it all starts defensively,” said Cooper. “I think we showed it tonight. We’re playing a lot tougher, coach said it in the locker room. If we keep defending we should make a little bit of a run.”
Coach Spanbauer has liked what he’s seen from his team on the defensive end of the floor over the past three games. “We’re playing with a higher level IQ on that end of the floor. Our guys are doing a much better job executing our gameplan defensively.”
Over the last two games, Carrel Joseph has been on a tear. He’s totaled 36 points and 22 rebounds as a key force for Cortland. In the first half against Plattsburgh he went down after going for a rebound, clutching his knee. He did not return to the game.
“He’s possibly done for the season,” Coach Spanbauer said after the game. “No matter what lineups we put out there, he was always in the lineups. It’s a huge loss for us.”
Although Joseph was dearly missed, Cortland found themselves ahead for the entire game. Zach Lydon contributed with 17 points, 5 steals and 3 blocks, turning in a great defensive performance.
Justin Pendergast must have been listening to Coach Span all week, because he turned in a defensive effort that garnered him 4 blocks. His tough work down low forced him to foul out early, but the Red Dragons didn’t falter.
Cortland plays Potsdam on Saturday February 4th at 2:00 p.m. at home in the Park Center Gymnasium. Potsdam is 1-12 in the SUNYAC as Cortland looks to grow their winning streak to four.