Gameday Preview: #4 Men's Basketball @ Stevens
After sweeping the home-and-home series against the University of Saint Joseph, the Yeshiva University Maccabees will travel to Hoboken, New Jersey to clash with Stevens Institute of Technology on Monday night. The Macs, now a perfect 6-0 on the year and winners of 35 straight, have jumped to the No. 4 spot in the national rankings of NCAA Division III teams, the highest in program history. Last Monday, Yeshiva used a dominant 2nd half performance to prevail against the Saint Joseph Blue Jays, led by Ryan Turell, who continued his fantastic season by pouring in a game-high 22 points.
The Maccabees will look to continue their sizzling play, facing off against another reigning NCAA Tournament team. Last year, Stevens boasted an overall record of 23-5, going 12-3 in their conference. They were beaten in heartbreak fashion in the opening round of the tournament, topped by a mere 2 points to Nichols College. In this year's campaign however, they have gotten off on the wrong footing, as they come in with an overall record of 0-2. The Macs would be foolish to underestimate this squad though, as they possess talent throughout their roster. Offensively, head coach Bobby Hurley likes to run his unit with emphasis on packing it down low. In their last game against Wilkes University, Stevens scored more than half their total points directly in the paint. The Ducks run their production on both ends of the floor through their returning senior Alec DiPietrantonio. DiPietrantonio, a forward/center hybrid standing at a tall 6’6, leads Stevens in averaged points, rebounds, and blocks per game. Andrew Abujawdeh, a young, budding sophomore talent, is their threat shooting the rock. He is shooting 64% from the field in the young season, and in his second career start last game, dropped a career high 13 points.
Monday night’s matchup will be the 12th time in history that the Yeshiva University Maccabees and the Stevens Institute of Technology go head to head. Stevens leads the historical series 6-5, while winning the last four games versus the Macs. The most recent game was played in February of 2007, as the Ducks knocked off the Macs in the Skyline Conference Quarterfinals.
Here are the Keys To The Game:
Dry The Paint
One of the keys to this game for the Maccabees will be on the defensive side of the ball, specifically down low. The Ducks have scored a total of 132 points in their two games played this year. 72 of those have come in the paint, an incredible 54.5% for all you math majors out there. It will be vital for the blue and white to stop Alec DiPietrantonio, the Ducks leading scorer and a bully in the paint, standing at 6’6, 215 pounds.
Stevens is a hounding, crafty team on defense. In both of their games this season, they have forced 20 turnovers against their opponents, respectively. Off of those turnovers, they average 21.5 points per game. If the Macs want to close this one out, they will need to tighten up their care of the ball, and not give Stevens any additional, cheap opportunities to capitalize.
Force Low % Shots
Stevens has struggled so far this year from behind the arc, hitting just 25% of their 3-point attempts. If the Macs are able to clear out the paint, and dare the Ducks to chuck from 3-point land, win #7 would be odds-on.
Tip-off for Monday night’s contest is scheduled for 7:30pm at Canavan Arena in Hoboken, New Jersey. Stevens will be streaming the game here.