Gameday Preview: #6 Men's Basketball @ Saint Joseph
The 5-0 Yeshiva University Maccabees will head to West Hartford, Connecticut on Monday night to take on the University of Saint Joseph Blue Jays in a rematch of a game that went down to the wire a couple of days ago. On Saturday night, the Macs hosted the Blue Jays and emerged victorious with a final score of 78-71. The Macs were led by the scoring of Eitan Halpert and Ryan Turell, each contributing 20 points, and by the near triple double and incredible passing of Gabe Leifer. Ofek Reef returned from a two game absence and had a strong first half, while energizing the Macs, but he remained on the bench for the entirety of the second half and it is yet to be seen if he will suit up on Monday.
Saint Joseph will be without their legendary Coach Jim Calhoun for this game as well, as he will not be coaching this season. The Blue Jays began their season on Saturday night with a loss to the Macs in the first ever matchup between the two schools and will be looking to get back on track with a win on Monday night. Like the Macs, the Blue Jays were a very high scoring team a season ago; however, their leading scorer from last season, Delshawn Jackson Jr., played just eight minutes last game and did not score. Look for Saint Joseph to try and get him more involved in the next matchup. Jordan Powell is another focal point of the Saint Joseph offense and the senior forward was the leading scorer for the Blue Jays in their first game against the Macs with 20 points.
A breakout player to keep an eye on for Saint Joseph is Tyree Mitchell. After playing just 11.4 minutes per game last season and scoring 5.8 points per game, the rangy and athletic forward scored 19 points against the Macs when they met just a few days ago. The Blue Jays have several other options on their deep team including speedy guard Jaecee Martin, who is their focal point on offense, and Jake Sullivan, both of whom can put pressure on the Macs defense.
Here are the Keys to the Game:
The first matchup between these two teams saw both teams turn the ball over 14 times. The Macs should look to keep up the on-ball pressure on the defensive side, in hopes that turnovers can be created leading to easy points. On the offensive end of the floor, the Macs need to take better care of the ball and limit live ball turnovers. The Blue Jays have a lot of speed on their team and when they get out running off a turnover it can create problems for the Macs.
The Blue Jays’ game plan features a lot of running. In addition to limiting turnovers to avoid giving up easy points, the Macs must get back on defense in a hurry after both made and missed shots. The Blue Jays are always looking to run and the Macs were caught allowing easy transition points several times last game. Not only did the Blue Jays get out quickly after missed shots, but they even pushed the ball after made baskets, which resulted in quick points.
Assists on Baskets:
On Saturday night the Macs assisted on almost 60% of their made field goals. Finding Leifer on the interior and allowing him to find cutting teammates for open looks proved to be an efficient way of running the offense and the Macs should continue to look to Leifer to help set up his teammates for easy points. Leifer finished with nine assists from a variety of spots including both the high and low post as he made several nice pocket passes to cutting teammates. As a team, the Macs should continue to run the offense and trust that their teammates will find them in open spots as they have been doing.
Yeshiva looks to sweep the doubleheader tonight at 7 pm. Coverage for the game will be provided by Saint Joseph and can be found here.