For the fifth time in nine days, the YU Macs—now ranked #22 in D3—will hit the hardwood. Tonight, they will complete their journey through the Skyline Conference’s Northern Division, as Yeshiva heads to Newburgh to take on the Mount Saint Mary College Knights. Having won a program record 18th consecutive game on Monday night, the Macs, going forward, will have the unique chance to make history every time they play.
Last season, the Macs and Knights faced off twice, with extraordinarily different results. In late November, The Mount defeated the Macs 70-63, dropping Yeshiva to 1-5 overall (this was the contest immediately before YU’s 17-game winning streak began). That night, the Macs shot an abysmal 35.2% from the field and 17.4% from three-point range. When the teams rematched in February—in what turned out to be the final win of that streak—YU would turn the tables, winning 96-60.
Mount Saint Mary effectively goes seven deep, and relies on four players to provide their scoring. The Knights’ entire offense is run through senior Kendall Francis, who takes over 2x more shots than anyone else, and is their only legitimate threat from downtown (the team as a whole is only making 28.1% of three-point attempts). Unlike last year, he doesn’t go bucket very often; most of the time, they will set screens or run pick and roll with him. Ethan Fox may be 6’8”, but at just 190 pounds, he’s essentially the exact opposite of Williams’ Matt Karpowicz, who gave the Macs troubles in the post on Monday. He prefers to stay on the perimeter, and the Knights get him involved by running pick and pop and sending him dump offs inside. Paul Sienke and Jameson Morton make their mark by driving middle and trying to get to the hole. Tristan Millett is the fifth starter on this team which typically goes with four guards; he is mainly a distributor, as the senior is taking fewer than four shots/game.
Defensively, the Knights run a pack line man-to-man defense, with the intention of clogging the key and stopping middle penetration. Fox plays a big role, and his excellent instincts are part of the reason why he has ½ of his team’s blocks this season. If YU tries to win by dribbling, they’ll have some trouble; if the Macs run their offense, make cuts to the basket, and move without the ball, the Knights will probably have difficulty stopping them. In addition, the Macs should get open looks from behind the arc all game, as the Knights will probably focus on keeping Yeshiva out of the paint, and dare them to take threes.
Keys to the Game:
1) Shut Down Francis
I would expect Ryan Turell, who has successfully slowed opponent’s top scorers recently, to guard the 5’10” Francis
Turell’s height and length should help to prevent Francis from getting open looks from outside, where he is lethal
Ryan has also done a good job at preventing middle drive, which should create issues for Francis should the senior play more similarly to how he did last season
If the Macs are able to shut down Francis, it’ll be a long night for the Knights
2) Contest Shots
Mount Saint Mary is not a great shooting team, but when they are able to get off uncontested shots, they hit them at a solid rate
Even if some of the Knights players have great games, as long as none of them catch fire from deep, YU will be in OK shape
If Yeshiva just focuses on stopping middle drive, and allows the Knights to get open looks throughout the game, Mount Saint Mary will be able to stick with the Macs
3) Get Production from the Bench
This is the Macs’ fifth game in nine days, and the team is pretty tired as a whole
In recent days, the bench has stepped up big time, especially Ofek Reef, Eitan Halpert, and Caleb Milobsky
It is important that Yeshiva continues to get production from the bench, because the starters cannot be expected to play at 100%, and will likely need rest throughout the game
This Skyline Conference matchup will tip off at 8:00 PM from the Kaplan Center. Mount Saint Mary will broadcast the game; click here to watch. If you would like to follow along without watching, click here. Be sure to check back on MacsLive.com after the game for our recap.