Coming off two straight road victories in conference play, the YU Maccabees are returning home Thursday night looking to extend their impressive 16 game win streak. The streak has propelled the Macs to the top overall seed in the Skyline Conference with a 17-5 overall record and 15-2 vs Skyline opponents. The Macs have not lost a game since November 29, in which they were defeated by none other than the Mount Saint Mary College Knights, 70-63. On Thursday night the Macs will face the Knights once more, as they hope to even the series and continue their winning ways. Mount Saint Mary has a 13-9 record (10-7 Skyline) and are in 6th place in Skyline standings. Here are some keys to the game:
1. Macs three point shooting: In the previous matchup between the Macs and Knights, YU shot an abysmal 4-23 (17%) from behind the arc. The poor shooting resulted in a loss where the Macs had just 63 points, 24 points below their season average. Since that game the Macs have been on fire from the three point land, making more than 40% of their threes attempted. With the Macs shooting around 23 three pointers a game, they need to stay hot in order to produce on the offensive end.
2. Kendall Francis: Throughout the season, Mount Saint Mary has relied on Junior Guard Kendall Francis to provide consistent offense. Francis is the leading scorer on the team with 19.5 ppg and has scored 30+ points in three separate games this year. In the previous matchup vs Yeshiva, Francis dropped 23 points 5 rebounds and 5 assists, carrying the Knights to the victory. Mount Saint Mary needs Francis to continue playing at a high level if they hope to replicate another win vs YU.
3. Gabe Leifer: Junior Forward Gabe Leifer has been one of the keys to the Macs impressive run. During Yeshiva’s last loss, Leifer was dealing with an injury and struggled to provide offensively. Over a three game stretch in November, Leifer scored just 13 points including a 2 point game vs Mount Saint Mary’s on 1-8 shooting. Since then Leifer has been a force down low, scoring 18.8 points and grabbing 13 rebounds a game. Leifer’s three 20+ point performances last week were good enough to win Skyline player of the week. He also leads all Skyline players in both rebounds (11.4 rpg) and assists (5.1 apg). Look for Leifer to turn in a better performance this time around vs the Knights.
YU looks to come one win closer to securing home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Currently, Mount Saint Mary is placed in the 6th and final playoff spot. However, a win tonight would elevate them to a 4-way tie for third place in the conference. The knights hope to end the winning streak while the Macs look to split the season series. Tipoff is at 8 PM.