Updated: Jan 29
Tonight, the #24 Yeshiva University Maccabees will head to Bronxville to take on the Sarah Lawrence Gryphons in their first ever game as a nationally ranked school. Immediately after receiving this accolade, the Macs will begin a grueling seven-day stretch, in which they will play four tough games. The first three of these games are against the teams who are currently holding the top spots in the Skyline Conference’s Northern Division; to cap it off, Yeshiva will play @ Williams College, a perennial powerhouse which made it all the way to the DIII Quarterfinals last year.
Every diehard Yeshiva fan will remember last season’s home opener, in which the reigning Skyline Champion Macs faced off against 2017-18 cellar dweller Sarah Lawrence. In that game, Gryphons guard Andrew Varoli drained a three-pointer to break an 88-88 tie with 2.7 seconds on the clock, as YU suffered a heartbreaking loss. By the time YU headed to Sarah Lawrence in early February for a rematch, the Macs were on a 12-game winning streak. The Gryphons were able to keep the game relatively close, but Yeshiva ultimately won by 15 behind stifling defense and Simcha Halpert’s superb shooting.
Sarah Lawrence brings back their big three from last year in Omar Jamaleddine, Enike Anyia, and BJ Sanders. The Gryphons run their offense through Jamaleddine; the 6’4” sophomore guard is averaging 22.6 points/game while taking nearly two times more shot attempts than anyone else on the team. In addition to shooting 43.2% from the floor, he leads Sarah Lawrence in assists, steals, blocks, and rebounds. Anyia is a 6’5” forward who is averaging 16.9 points/game; he takes very few shots other than layups, and is making more than ⅔ of his two-point attempts. Sanders also lives in the post; the 6’6” big man is hitting a tick under 50% of his field goal attempts. Besides for these three, the Gryphons main threat is Chris Torres, a freshman who has effectively taken over for a struggling Varoli. Torres lives behind the three-point arc, and is hitting over 40% of his treys this season.
Keys to the Game
1) Box out
Sarah Lawrence boasts an impressive +9 rebound differential, averaging 42.8 a game compared to their opponents’ 33.8
The Gryphons have impressive size, with their three main players all being at least 6’4”
While we have seen improvement recently, boxing out is one of YU’s weaknesses
The Macs need to ensure that they get a body on a man, because Sarah Lawrence is excellent at taking advantage of second chance opportunities
2) Exploit the speed advantage
The upside to the Gryphons being a big team is that it slows them down
The Macs should push the ball in transition and get out on the fast break whenever the opportunity presents itself
Sarah Lawrence also gives up more than 78 points and 17 assists/game, and is clearly not a great defensive team
The Macs’ off-ball movement and cuts should be even more effective than usual against the slow Gryphons’ defense
3) Get production from the bench
The Macs have arguably the most talented bench in the conference, but (with the exception of Ofek Reef) they have been struggling to get much production from it
It is important that the bench steps up, especially in this stretch where YU has a game every two days
Keeping fresh legs on the court will both allow the Macs to exploit their speed advantage and play better as a team
How to Watch/Follow
This Skyline Conference matchup will tip off at 8:00 PM. Click here to watch the Sarah Lawrence broadcast; click here to access our in-game scoreboard. After the game, be sure to head back to MacsLive.com for our game recap.