Championship Dreams Shattered; Macs Lose Heartbreaker 63-59
In the first Division III NCAA Tournament game in two years, the #10 Johns Hopkins Blue Jays took down the #19 ranked Yeshiva Maccabees at the Stockton University Sports Center. The game was relatively close throughout, with the Blue Jays leading for the entire second half and withstanding a ferocious Macs comeback in the final two minutes. Johns Hopkins was upset by Penn State - Harrisburg in the first round of the 2020 tournament, so they were able to redeem themselves today and advance to the Round of 32. The Macs were a legitimate contender to cut down the nets this season following a record-breaking 50 game win streak and another Skyline Conference Tournament championship, but just weren’t able to outplay their opponent on Division III’s biggest stage.
How it Happened:
Johns Hopkins jumped out to an early 5-0 lead behind a Braeden Johnson three and a Carson James layup less than a minute into the game.
Eitan Halpert hit a layup with 15:09 on the clock to cap an 8-0 run that gave the Macs an 8-5 lead.
James knocked down a three with 6:19 left in the half to tie the game at 23.
Conner Delaney hit a deep three in the closing seconds of the first half to give the Blue Jays a 32-28 lead heading into the break.
Ryan Turell hit his second straight jumper to cut the lead to 4 with 16:13 left in the game.
Tom Quarry extended the lead to 50-40 with a three from the top of the key with 8:31 remaining.
Turell hit a three to cut the lead to 57-51 with 2:54 to go.
Sidney Thybulle converted on a layup to push the Blue Jays lead back to 8 with 1:27 left.
Turell knocked down three free throws with 1:01 on the clock to cut the deficit to five, and then hit a step back three with 40 seconds left to make it a 60-58 game.
After Ethan Lasko took a charge with 15 seconds to go, Turell couldn’t hit a jumper in the lane and Thybulle knocked down one of two free throws on the other end to make it 61-58 with three seconds left.
Lasko was then fouled and hit the front end of a one and one to make it 61-59, but was called for a lane violation as he intentionally missed the second shot to try and get a putback opportunity for his team.
Delaney iced the game with two free throws with 1.1 seconds left, making the final score 63-59.
One of the big factors in determining who was going to win this game was the rebound battle, and Johns Hopkins dominated on that front, outrebounding the Macs 42-29. The Blue Jays had 10 offensive rebounds, good for 10 second chance points, while the Macs grabbed five offensive boards for only two points. Johns Hopkins took advantage of their second chance opportunities, and in turn, thwarted various transition breaks the Macs could have run had they secured the rebound on the first miss.
Free Throw Shooting:
Neither team shot particularly well from the free throw line, as Johns Hopkins went 8-for-14 and Yeshiva 8-for-13. When the Macs urgently needed points late in the second half, they squandered multiple opportunities from the line, missing some crucial free throws which may have cost them the game. Ryan Turell missed consecutive free throws with the Macs down nine with five minutes to go, and Ofek Reef missed one with the Macs down six with just over two minutes remaining.
The Macs were in control of this game midway through the first half, but turnovers and fouls caused them to lose the lead late in the half and they were ultimately unable to reclaim it the rest of the way. Poor outlet passes led to turnovers and undisciplined fouls gave the Blue Jays ample opportunities to score from the free throw line.
For Johns Hopkins (23-3):
Carson James shot an incredible 7-for-10 from deep and led his team with 23 points to go along with five rebounds and four assists.
Conner Delaney played all 40 minutes of the game, logging 11 points, five rebounds and five assists.
Sidney Thybulle was a presence in the paint, scoring seven points, grabbing 13 rebounds, and blocking three shots.
For Yeshiva (25-4):
Ryan Turell led all scorers with 28 points, putting the team on his back down the stretch as they tried to surmount the large deficit. It was another impressive performance in what very well may have been the final game of his illustrious career as a Yeshiva Maccabee.
Gabe Leifer had a double-double, racking up 12 points and 10 rebounds as well as 6 assists in 40 minutes of action to close out his great five-year Macs career.
Ethan Lasko came up clutch in big moments, knocking down four threes to keep the Macs in the game and provided much needed energy on defense for much of the second half.
For more Yeshiva Maccabees content follow Macslive on Twitter, Instagram, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.