When “trap games” transpire, it’s a sight to behold for underdog lovers. A strong team walks onto the court of an opponent everyone thinks they will beat, expecting it’ll be “cookie night.” Their minds are already focused on their next contest against a rival. Instead, it’s a demoralizing defeat and a speechless bus ride home. The Yeshiva University Maccabees (13-7, 10-1) don’t want to fall into the Panthers trap on Thursday night when they travel north to take on Purchase (10-10, 4-7), a team YU beat just eight days ago. The Panthers may only be tied for the eighth and final playoff spot in the conference, but they are not a team to take lightly. They average 73 points per game while shooting 40% from the field and 33% from behind the arc, and turn over their opponents over 18 times a game. It’s a stingy bunch that’ll take what you give them.
Despite several injuries, the Macs have notched three consecutive victories, and created significant separation between themselves and Manhattanville in the race for a top-two playoff seed. Last Wednesday, the Macs mauled the Panthers 87-76; Zevi Samet led the way with 31 points. However, tonight’s contest will be played inside the Panthers' den, which could result in a different type of contest.
Zevi Samet and the Macs seek a pivotal road win on Thursday night at the Purchase Panthers. (Photo Credit: Akiva Poppers/MacsLive)
Avoid The Trap:
With a highly anticipated matchup against their bitter rivals, the Farmingdale State Rams, looming on Saturday evening in what would be a battle for the top seed in the Skyline Conference should YU win tonight, the Macs must not overlook tonight's game against Purchase. It could be a trap game if they get caught up thinking about the next one. They have to stay focused and give Purchase the respect they deserve.
Sustain Defensive Momentum:
Yeshiva’s defense was on point in Tuesday's 72-59 victory over Manhattanville. They must carry that defensive intensity into tonight's game against the pesky Panthers. YU must lock things down, disrupt Purchase’s offense, and make life difficult for them on every possession.
Share the Scoring Load:
The Samet show was fun last week, and Zevi made history on Tuesday when he became the quickest Mac ever to 1,000 career points. The second-year player has performed as advertised this season, but it can’t just be him doing the heavy lifting.
Against Manhattanville, the Macs proved that when multiple players contribute offensively, they’re a tough team to beat. They’ll need continued production from Effy Fruendlich, Dothan Bardichev, Roy Itcovichi, newcomer Yoav Oselka, and captain Adi Markovich, who have all shown they can make an impact on the offensive end. Yeshiva should look to spread the wealth around with rapid ball movement through their motion offense and keep Purchase guessing.
How To Watch:
Tip-off is slated for 7:30PM. You can watch the action here.
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