On Saturday night, February 3rd, the Yeshiva Maccabees (13-8, 10-2) will look to get back on track as they host the reigning conference champion and currently undefeated in Skyline play Farmingdale State Rams (19-1, 11-0). It will be Alumni Night at the Max Stern Athletic Center, and the packed crowd will be rallying behind the Macs in their first matchup against the Rams since November of 2022. There is no love lost between these bitter rivals, so this year’s matchup projects to be a spirited and emotional one.
The Macs are coming off a tough loss on the road against Purchase, one which severely hurt their chances of securing the one seed in Skyline Conference Tournament in a few weeks. Yeshiva no longer controls its own destiny for home court throughout the playoffs. Zevi Samet has carried the Macs all year, averaging 23.3 points per game and shooting 39% from beyond the arc. The team is expected to once again be without their other star, Max Zakheim, who is averaging 20 points per game but has missed the past few games with injury. Yeshiva will need the supporting cast to step up in what will be the Macs’ biggest challenge in conference play.
Farmingdale State has dominated the Skyline thus far this season, winning five games by at least 20 points, and, aside from their non-conference loss to Ramapo, has allowed no more than 80 points in any game this year. This is a very experienced Rams squad, as their top four scorers are all seniors who know what it takes to win. Nick Hurowitz is averaging 19 points and 8.4 rebounds, and is complemented by Aaron Davis and Corey Powell, who average a combined 28.7 points per game, as well as a very deep bench.
The Macs will play their most important game yet as they face off against the #1 seed in the Skyline conference. (Photo Credit: Akiva Poppers/MacsLive)
Keys to the Game:
Jumping Out to a Fast Start:
The Rams have only trailed at the half in one game this season, as they have been able to provide themselves an early cushion with which to work with all season long.
The Macs will need to apply some pressure early and find a way to make it difficult for the Rams to get comfortable. The Macs have had a few comebacks this year fall just short, and Farmingdale State is not a team they want to be trailing against. If Yeshiva does not come ready to play, this could turn into a blowout.
Take The Ball out of the Best Player’s Hands:
Farmingdale State has more than a few guys who can score the basketball, so Yeshiva’s defensive effort won’t be as simple as shutting down their top player, but they will need to locate Hurowitz at all times and make sure he won’t be the reason why the Rams win. Hurowitz has historically killed the Macs; in his career, he is 13/20 from the floor and 4/9 from 3 against YU.
On the other side, Zevi Samet is the Macs’ clear number one option, and he will be the focus of Farmingdale’s defensive game plan. Look for the Macs to get creative in order to find Samet some open looks, as well as for Dothan Bardichev to step up in a big way in the game.
How to Watch:
The game will tip off at 8:30pm, and fans are highly encouraged to attend in person.
You can also watch the game on MacsLive.