A capacity crowd was on hand at the Max Stern Athletic Center on Saturday night, as nearly 1000 fans packed into the blue and white seats to cheer on the #22 Yeshiva University Maccabees. Bar Alluf’s three-pointer five minutes in gave the Macs a lead they would never relinquish. A 10-0 run midway through the second half allowed YU to pull away from the Mount Saint Vincent Dolphins, and when the buzzer sounded, the scoreboard read Yeshiva 95, CMSV 80.
The Dolphins demonstrated early on that they were going to be a threat in the transition game, as they put up nine points in the first few minutes, most of which resulted from fast breaks. A Simcha Halpert trey and a Ryan Turell and-one allowed the Macs to match the Dolphins point for point, as the teams were knotted at 9-all with four minutes gone by.
Bar Alluf went coast-to-coast for two, and nailed an open triple on the Macs’ next possession. A couple of minutes later, Turell completed an incredible, no-look pass to Caleb Milobsky, and the big man from Denver layed it in for two. The Valley Torah product followed that up with a tremendous rejection of Vinny Tavella; the Macs pushed the ball, and it was Ryan who was on the receiving end of an alley oop from Simcha Halpert. The MAX crowd rose to its feet in disbelief, and the hometown squad’s lead was seven.
The Macs had a clear size advantage in the paint, and Gabriel Leifer earned multiple blocks in the first eight minutes. Simcha Halpert responded to a Tavella trey by nailing his second three-pointer of the contest. Well executed passing from the Macs led to Ryan Turell hitting an open three; moments later, he got loose in transition and earned an and-one. Turell connected on his attempt from the charity stripe, extending the YU lead to 29-21.
After some back and forth play, Raiquis Harris put in a bucket on the fast break, cutting the Yeshiva advantage to six. However, the Macs closed out the half strong, outscoring CMSV 11-4 in the final 180 seconds. Simcha Halpert knocked down his third trey of the night and completed a fantastic windmill layup in this time span, and the Macs went into the locker room up 46-33.
Following some stagnant play to start the second half, the scoring picked up for both teams. Sim hit two threes in a row to give the Macs a 59-46 lead with 13 minutes remaining. Eitan Halpert came off the bench, and immediately made an impact, as he drained a triple with five seconds left on the shot clock. The younger Halpert put two more on the board, completing a quick 10-0 YU run. This gave the Blue and White their largest lead of the game, as they were up 66-46 with 11 minutes to go.
Eitan hit another shot from behind the arc, giving the Halpert pair a combined 30 points on the night. A few possessions later, Caleb Milobsky brought back memories of Monday night’s performance against Williams College by drilling a dagger three-pointer. Tyler Hod provided an instant spark off the bench, as he found Dani Katz inside with a beautiful pass. The Macs held a comfortable 17-point lead with four minutes on the clock.
Mount Saint Vincent made a late push, but the Macs held on to their double-digit advantage. Simcha and Eitan hit two threes in eight seconds in a wild final minute which saw eleven total points for the two teams. The final score was 95-80, as the Macs extended their winning streak to 20 games. With the win, the magic number for Yeshiva to clinch home-court advantage throughout the Skyline Conference Playoffs is down to two.
Gabe Leifer came up just short of a triple double, as the Lawrence, NY native tallied 15 points, 17 rebounds, and 9 assists, as well as 3 blocks. Ryan Turell put up 26 points, and picked up 3 steals along the way. Simcha Halpert scored a team-leading 27 points on absurd 7-10 shooting from deep, while brother Eitan made 3 of his 4 three-point attempts en route to a season-high 11 points. Raiquis Harris had a game-high 28 points, as he used his speed to create scoring opportunities throughout the night.
In the Zone
The Macs were not the only team which was “in the zone” tonight. Mount Saint Vincent decided to use a zone defense against the Macs, hoping that the Yeshiva players would have a bad night from behind the arc. Unfortunately for the Dolphins, this was not the case, as YU’s shooters were on point from downtown, and the Macs executed against the zone to near perfection.
Yeshiva played inside-out throughout the game, as they tried to get the ball to Leifer, Turell, or Katz in the post, and force the Dolphins to help. The YU player would then decide if he had room to maneuver his way to the hole; if not, he would kick the ball out. Oftentimes, the Macs would make the extra pass to create a wide open three, as the YU players put the team above their individual stats. With opponents struggling to defend the Macs man-to-man, some have attempted to play zone; so far, the YU offensive attack that has been unstoppable in Skyline Conference play.
We may be less than a third of the way through February, but the Macs have already set a program record with their 20th win of the year. The Macs have positioned themselves well to potentially crack the top 20 in Monday’s D3hoops.com poll. More importantly, YU is expected to be placed #1 in the Atlantic when the NCAA Regional rankings come out early this week; although Stevens Tech has made a strong case themselves, it will be difficult for the committee not to put the one-loss Maccabees at the top.
YU’s next game will be on Tuesday night vs. St. Joseph’s College-Brooklyn. Tip off will be at 8 PM, and our broadcast will start a few minutes before. In addition, be sure to check out our highlights from tonight’s game; they will be posted to MacsLive.com and our YouTube channel in the morning.