By R.L. Bynum
Andrew Platek’s first season at Siena came to a frustrating early end, but his second season there is off to a terrific start.
Platek knocked down three 3-pointers in a decisive second-half run and scored a career-high 15 points in Sunday’s 75–62 victory over Albany to claim the Albany Cup. That bettered his previous career-high of 13 points he scored in the Saints’ season-opening 75–68 win at Holy Cross.
Platek’s first season after transferring from Carolina ended on Dec. 3 when he suffered a season-ending full tear of the Achilles tendon in his left leg after averaging 9.0 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.8 assists. His season-high last season was 12 points on Nov. 19 at Georgetown, which equaled his UNC-high (on Nov. 23, 2017, against Portland).
Platek, 24, is thankful that Siena coach Carmen Maciariello allowed him to return for another season, his sixth as a college player. Platek was a freshman at Carolina for the 2017–18 season.
“I can’t thank coach Carm enough for giving me a chance to come back and play,” Platek said. “He’s a big reason that I fell back in love with the game. I didn’t have it when I was done playing when I graduated [from Carolina]. I can’t say enough about this guy. It means the world to me.”
Platek has started both games for the 2–0 Saints, averaging 14 points while shooting 61.1% from the floor and 5 of 10 from 3-point range.
The three 3-pointers against Albany tied a career-high set for Carolina against Western Carolina on Jan. 6, 2017.
In the win over Albany, the Saints trailed 50–34 with 16:03 left.
“Obviously, you never want to play from behind, but there’s going to be games where that’s going to happen,” Platek said told the Albany Times-Union. “I think it shows a lot about the character of our team. Everyone had a little head’s down moment, feeling sorry for ourselves at halftime.
“We’ve been here before and we’re going to do it again and we kept believing,” Platek said, according to The Daily Gazette. “We came out with heart, with hustle, and I think that was the difference. And it helps when you make shots, as well.”
Platek joked that he probably played more minutes in the Albany game than he played in all of the Duke games when he was with UNC. He actually played 76 minutes over seven Duke games, including 36 in a Feb. 8, 2020, loss, and was in for 29 minutes of the win over Albany.
“It’s cool for me, but I couldn’t do it without these guys. I can’t say enough about this team I have right here,” Platek said.
Siena, which next faces Army at home at 7 p.m. on Wednesday (ESPN+), plays Power Five opponents in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., on Thanksgiving week, meeting Florida State at 11 a.m. on Nov. 24 (ESPN2), Ole Miss or Stanford on Nov. 25 and an additional game on Nov. 27 as part of the ESPN Events Invitational.
Photos courtesy of Siena College