At around 9:30 PM on February 16, 2019, the Yeshiva University Maccabees trailed the Farmingdale State Rams by 17 points. The Macs then embarked on an incredible run, and with the raucous Max Stern Athletic Center bursting at the seams, YU overtook the Rams, and had their eyes on the #1 seed in the Skyline Conference Playoffs. In the final minute, numerous mistakes burned the Macs, and five points in the final five seconds allowed Farmingdale to escape with a stunning victory.
Tonight, the Macs need not worry about the one seed slipping from their grasp. #21 Yeshiva has already clinched home court advantage in the Skyline Playoffs, and their focus is simply on capturing a 22nd consecutive victory.
This Rams’ team is extremely different on paper from the one which won the Skyline Conference Championship one season ago, but their style of play remains the same. First of all, their top three scorers from that team—sharpshooter Matthew Graham, slasher Ali Mableton, and the 6’9” George Riefenstahl—all graduated. To combat these losses, the Rams brought in 6’4” guard Hunter Schenkel, a transfer from The College of New Rochelle. So far this season, Schenkel has provided a similar stat line to Graham’s last year, as he has shot 42.3% from 3, and is averaging 16.1 points/game. The duo of Schenkel and Ryan Kennedy, who is hitting 42.9% of his treys this season, can be deadly.
Other players who have nabbed starting roles this year for the Rams include Jermaine Fraser, De’Shawn Todman, and recently, Corey Powell. Anthony Miller has been taking on a sixth-man sort of role with Powell’s move up the lineup, but is receiving starter-like minutes. Chaz Platt, who loves to jack up threes from the corner, provides shooting off the bench. While his minutes per game have varied, 6’8” 235 pound Dominique Senat can give teams trouble inside, and can crash the glass with the best of them.
Even without Riefenstahl on the court—he, along with Mableton, are assistant coaches now—the Rams run the same offense. They set ball screens, and run some pick and roll. Their main goals are to create mismatches and free up shooters. Farmingdale State still has size, which helps them both when taking the rock inside and on the offensive boards.
YU faced off against Farmingdale State in December, and won by seven points, albeit with both teams missing—and not yet missing—key players. For the Macs, leading scorer Ryan Turell—who is currently 10 points away from 1k—was out with an ankle injury. Farmingdale State was missing Schenkel, and didn’t use Dominique Senat. However, both Troy Feeney and Kyle Beeson, who have since left the Rams, did play in that game.
Keys to the Game:
1) Don’t give Schenkel and Kennedy space from deep
Make no doubt about it, both Schenkel and Kennedy can shoot the lights out, and are not afraid to pull from well beyond the arc
Farmingdale State’s game relies on getting their shooters in open space
The Macs cannot allow either one of the Rams’ primary shooters to take uncontested threes
YU should focus on taking away the three-point line, and force the Rams to beat them with twos
2) Take advantage of mistakes
Cutting down on turnovers has been a point of emphasis for the Macs this year, who have struggled in this department
That said, this season, Farmingdale State’s greatest weakness has been turnovers, to the point that it is a much greater concern for the Rams than for Yeshiva
Many of the Rams’ turnovers have come in their halfcourt offense, resulting from sloppy passing and silly errors
YU should anticipate mistakes, and be ready to jump on the numerous opportunities which will likely be presented to them tonight
3) Box out
While the Rams no longer have Riefenstahl, they still pull down 13.2 offensive rebounds/game; the Macs, for comparison, only average 8.2
Fraser, Todman, and Senat are the biggest threats, but all of the Rams players are either big enough or quick enough to make an impact on the boards
The YU players need to find a body to box out; the Rams are excellent at capitalizing on second-chance opportunities, and a few mistakes could hurt the Macs in a game-changing way
This rivalry matchup will tip off at 8:30 PM. President David Schwartzman and Ezra Appel will be on the call; click here to watch our broadcast. If you are unable to tune in, but would like to follow along, click here to access our in-game scoreboard. After the game, be sure to check out MacsLive.com for our recap and highlights. Let’s Go Macs!