Updated: Jan 22, 2020
The YU Macs will conclude 2019 with a non-conference matchup at Moravian College (Bethlehem, PA). Exactly one year ago, the Macs defeated the Greyhounds, 99-94, in the Max Stern Athletic Center; this season, Yeshiva will make the two-hour trip out west. Moravian won the Landmark Conference in 2018-19, and defeated Keene St. in the NCAA Tournament. The 2019-20 Greyhounds are 5-3, and on paper not as good as last year’s team, but tonight’s game will still be a big test for the Macs.
Moravian typically plays a full-court press, and sports a deep bench, with nine different players averaging 16+ minutes/game. The Greyhounds love to get out in the fast break and create early offense, but know how to settle the ball down and move it around as well. Last season, Moravian was led by senior duo Oneil Holder and Jimmy Murray; there is no clear top player this year, and every team member contributes in a different way.
The Greyhounds’ top scorer is C.J. Barnes, who averages 14.6 points/game. Interestingly enough, Barnes shot 45.2% from three last year, but is only making 34% of treys this season; if he can find his touch, Moravian will become a more dangerous team. Matt O’Connor and Mike Martino are the ball distributors for Moravian; when the Greyhounds settle into a halfcourt offense, they typically are the ones who break down the defense and locate scoring opportunities. The tallest player for Moravian is 6’6”, and they are, as a whole, a small and quick team.
Keys to the Game:
1) Prevent Early Greyhounds Offense
Moravian love to run the court, both off of misses and makes
The Macs should jam the boards on misses, and prevent the rebounder from hitting an outlet pass
Last time these two teams played, the Macs rarely had a chance to settle in on defense
The YU players need to make sure to get back on makes, and not get caught sleeping
2) Avoid Telegraphing Passes
This was a huge issue against NJCU, and it led to many easy buckets for the Gothic Knights
Moravian is an opportune team which averages 9 steals/game
Telegraphing passes against a press defense is a simple way to give the opponent free points
The Macs should play north-to-south against the press, and instead of making obvious side-to-side passes, work the ball down the floor and towards the basket
3) Take Advantage of Mismatches Inside
The Greyhounds play two big men at a time, but none of their forwards are extremely large
When not being pressed, the Macs should get Gabe, Dani, Caleb and Ryan working in the post, especially whenever they are matched up against a guard
Moravian typically switches on screens, so the Macs should set ball screens which allow a big man to roll to the hoop against a smaller defender
What Should We Expect in Tonight’s Matchup?
Undoubtedly, tonight’s game represents one of the Macs’ toughest challenges this season. The Greyhounds haven’t played in 12 days, so it will be interesting to see if the extra rest hurts or helps them. I do believe that the Macs are the favorites in this matchup, but perhaps only by three points. This game has the potential to go down to the wire, and will probably go quite similarly to the NJCU game on Tuesday. The Greyhounds are probably 3 point underdogs.
If you like lots of buckets and fast action, you will love tonight’s game. Don’t expect both teams to score in the 90s like they did last year, but it does feel as if this could be a first-to-85, if not first-to-90, type of game. I project the combined number of points tonight to be just under 170.
How to Watch/Follow:
The Macs last game until late January will tip-off at 7 PM. Click here to watch the Moravian College broadcast. Click here to access our in-game scoreboard. As always, make sure to check back after the game for our recap.