The Yeshiva Maccabees head to the Bronx for a Saturday night matchup against division rival Mount Saint Vincent. The Macs are currently on a four-game winning streak, and look to start off conference play with a W. The Dolphins, a familiar opponent, stand in their way. Last year, YU obliterated CMSV in the Max Stern Athletic Center 99-56, and soundly defeated the Dolphins by 13 on their court. Mount Saint Vincent is off to an 0-3 start this year, but have played tough competition, as two of those three teams made it to the NCAA Tournament last season.
The Dolphins typically go with a starting five which includes Raiquis Harris, Makai Johnson, Vinny Tavella, and Mamadou Mariko. Kalos Evans and Kelvin Turner-Harris also get massive minutes, and sometimes start for CMSV. Their starting guards, Harris and Johnson, are quick, but not big. According to Coach Steinmetz, they can both score a little, and Harris shoots well. These guards set the pace for the Dolphins, who try to get out in the break and create early offense. If they don’t succeed in this, CMSV settles into a halfcourt offense, looking for a ball screen and middle drive, and potentially a paint touch.
Tavella and Mariko are both big men who are 6’4” and 200+ pounds. Mariko is an athlete who can rebound and shoot a little inside. Tavella can also do damage in the paint, and is 4-9 this year from three.
For the Macs, Dani Katz will be available tonight in a limited role. The senior forward has been out all season after suffering a hamstring injury in practice. Eitan Halpert will continue to be absent from the court, as he will be seeing a doctor for an injury which popped up in the Oxy game. As a result, expect Bar Alluf and Ofek Reef to continue seeing playing time in the mid-20s.
Keys to the Game:
1) Stop middle drive
On Thursday night, Brooklyn went on a 16-0 run in a span of four minutes at the beginning of the second half. What went wrong on defense during this stretch? The Bulldogs were driving towards the middle, and the YU guards were getting beat on just one dribble. This led to easy layups, as well as kick outs for open threes. The Macs need to wall off the middle tonight from guards trying to use screens, and force the CMSV players to put the ball on the ground while driving sideline or baseline, and not middle. This way, the YU help-defense will automatically come into play. If the Macs prevent middle drive, they should have no problem winning this game.
2) Don’t force anything on offense
This is a Macs offense which can practically score at will when executing properly, but looks ugly when out of sync. Case in point: the 16-0 Brooklyn run, which was followed up by a 23-8 YU run. During the Bulldogs’ run, the Macs got away from their game, which is primarily composed of reversing the ball and getting post touches. During the Macs’ eight possessions in this stretch, they took four 3’s of off one pass, and had four turnovers. Nine of the next 10 possessions had ball reversals. YU scored on all 9, and had three and-ones. According to Coach Steinmetz, this showed good maturity, as the Macs were able to calm down and get back to playing their game. The same applies to this matchup. There is no need for YU to force anything on offense. If the Macs’ simply play their game, they will put up plenty of points.
3) Box out
Boxing out is an issue which has cropped up in almost every game which the Macs have played this season. Way too often, YU players just stand there and watch the ball, instead of finding a body. Against Brooklyn, Jeovanny Dambreville—the Bulldogs’ 6’3” big man—pulled down nine offensive rebounds, leading to easy second chance points. The Macs were bigger than Brooklyn, and they are also larger than CMSV, so if this issue is corrected, YU should not have so many issues on the defensive boards. If not fixed, the Macs will give the Dolphins free points, which could keep CMSV in the game.
How to Watch/Listen:
This conference matchup tips off at 8:30 PM. MacsLive will not be broadcasting the game, but Mount Saint Vincent is; you can watch here. Please note that CMSV’s broadcast will be in standard definition; if you would like to watch in HD, there is a $6.95 fee. If you would like to follow the game without watching, click here to access our in-game scoreboard. After the game, make sure to head to MacsLive.com to check out our recap and execution summary from tonight’s matchup.