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Basketball

Hodgson has career game in tourney

Size matters, but ultimately it’s the speed that kills. Well, speed and — in the case of the Plattsburgh State men’s basketball team — a career night from junior Ezra Hodgson.

In an electrifying performance, the junior out of Rindge poured in a game- and career-high 27 points while he — along with the rest of the Cardinals — succeeded in making quite the mockery out of the number-one ranked scoring defense in all of Division III basketball by hanging a 76-53 win on MIT in the first round of the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Tournament in Memorial Hall on Friday night.

Hodgson’s final stat line showed that he connected on nine of his 16 field goal attempts including a 6-of-9 (66.7-percent) mark from downtown. Thanks to their latest victory, the Cardinals improve to 23-5 and advance to the second round of the NCAA tourney.

With six players listed a 6’8” or taller on the Engineers’ roster, the Cardinals were at a distinct disadvantage in the height department right from the opening tip. Foreshadowing things, Hodgson hit his first field goal attempt of the tilt to give the home squad a 2-0 lead seconds into the NCAA tournament battle.

Hodgson’s silky shooting touch continued well into the deciding frame, as the junior knocked down a triple to begin scoring in the second half. Their energy being sapped quickly due to the Cardinals’ speedy pace, the Engineers’ game plan of going to war down on the block just wasn’t enough to keep up with the torrid home squad. Plattsburgh State slung in 50-percent of their field goals (14-of-28) and triples (7-of-14) in the deciding frame to widen the gap.

A Tim Butala jumper cut Plattsburgh State’s lead to 61-46 with 5:39 to go, but Hodgson was unrelenting in his long range assault. Two more long balls sent waves of excitement through the pro-Plattsburgh crowd and pushed the Cardinals’ lead to 22, 68-46, with 4:16 to go.

After Hodgson exited the game to a round of raucous cheering, a pair of old-fashioned three-point plays by Alan Siergiej upped the Plattsburgh State lead to 74-48 – its largest of the game - with just 3:09 remaining.

When the dust had finally settled, Plattsburgh State found itself with an 11-of-29 (37.9-percent) line from long distance and a 42.9-percent (24-of-56) figure for the game. Perhaps even more impressive was the fact that the Cardinals committed just five turnovers – a season low.

The Cardinals went on to beat Eastern Connecticut state to advance again; Plattsburgh takes on Amherst tomorrow night.

This article originally appeared on SUNY Plattsburgh’s website gocardinalsports.com

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