After a six-day break from competitive basketball, the YU Macs are back in action this weekend. Yeshiva split their first two games of the season in California, as they fell to Occidental College on Saturday night and knocked off Caltech on Sunday. The Macs will face a nearly identical schedule in Maryland, as they go up against Salisbury University tonight and Washington College tomorrow afternoon. Salisbury finished 19-9 last season, and lost in the first round of the NCAA DIII Tournament. The Sea Gulls are no stranger to success; they’ve reached the tournament four times in the last five years. Salisbury isn’t ranked in the D3hoops.com Top 25, but according to Coach Steinmentz, they deserve to be. Salisbury demonstrated this last year, as they went 2-2 against ranked opponents. The Sea Gulls are 2-1 so far this year.
Salisbury’s offense is led by juniors Gary Briddell, Mike Ward, and Devin Garrett. The Sea Gull’s second-leading scorer from last season graduated, but they brought in Garrett, a transfer from Virginia Wesleyan. This year, he has averaged a solid 11 points on only 23.3 minutes/game. However, Coach Steinmetz had tremendously high praise for him. “Garrett’s active, and can break a defense,” Coach said. “He’s their best athlete, and is a key for them.” Last year, Ward and Briddell averaged 14.9 and 13 points/game, respectively, and are the shooters on this team.
Salisbury is trigger happy, and doesn’t let the shot clock get low very often. They are a quick and athletic squad which loves to run a transition offense; they typically go for a quick drive and kick on the primary fast break, and look for open 3’s on the secondary break. They keep fresh legs on the floor at all times; last year, seven players received 18 or more minutes/game, and no one is averaging 30 minutes/game this season. Other players besides for the aforementioned three who receive big minutes for the Sea Gulls are Johnny Fierstein, 6’7” forward Lucas Martin, and D’Angelo Tull.
Keys To The Game
1) Get Back on Defense
This one is so important that it should arguably be all three Keys to the Game. If Salisbury gets an open shot, they will take it, and probably hit it. If the Macs want to win this game, they have to get back on defense every possession, whether it is after a make or a miss. The Sea Gulls game is in transition, and if the Macs are set by the time Salisbury runs down the floor, YU can stop their offense. If the Macs don’t get back, they will almost certainly get beaten by the speed and shooting ability of the Sea Gulls.
2) No Space Behind the Arc
Even if the Macs get back on defense, they cannot give the Salisbury shooters any space. If Ward or Briddell (or, for that matter, any of the Sea Gulls’ players) get open looks, they will, in all likelihood, knock them down. The logic here is quite simple: 3 > 2. Simcha Halpert will guard Ward, who rarely goes with his weak hand, and is not a strong passer. The Macs should try to force Salisbury’s shooters to put the ball on the floor—where they are less dangerous—because if the ball is not on the floor, it’s probably in the hoop.
3) Play Our Game
The Macs should not try to counter Salisbury’s style of offense by playing slowly. YU likes to play a fast-paced game, and they should keep this up. Only if the Macs don’t get a good look early in the shot clock should they slow it down and try to break down the defense. According to Coach Steinmetz, if the offense gets going, the Macs can match practically every DIII team. Lastly, the Macs should still try to press, because if executed properly it’ll disrupt even the most athletic squad.
How to Watch/Follow
Tipoff is at 8:00 PM. While MacsLive will not broadcast the game, you can watch the Salisbury live stream; click here to view it. If you are interested in following the game without watching, you can click here to access our in-game scoreboard. After the game, MacsLive will publish a game recap with analysis of what went right or wrong, so stay tuned for that. Let’s Go Macs!