The Macs took on Washington College on Sunday in the final game of their season-opening road trip. It wasn’t pretty, but the Macs were able to spoil the Shoremen’s home opener. A late 12-0 run propelled YU to a 78-68 win and 3-1 record. Ryan Turell’s 32 points kept the Macs in the game throughout, and allowed them to pull off the late comeback.
Washington started the game on a 7-0 run, with senior guard Austin Allen putting in the first five. Turell would hit a turnaround jumper to get the Macs on the board, but the Shoremen went on another run. Early on, Washington, which is not a good shooting team, was hitting all of their attempts, while the Macs had four turnovers in the first two minutes. With the score at 12-2, Coach Steinmetz took a timeout. After the deficit reached 12, YU went on a 9-2 run, completed by an old-fashioned three-point play from Turell.
Four points in a row gave Washington the 22-13 lead, but the Macs used a 7-0 run to cut it to two. Ofek Reef had both a layup on a fast break and a three-pointer, while Ryan Turell had a block, followed up by a layup in transition. However, Washington was still hitting their shots, and YU was caught not hustling back in transition, leading to easy buckets. A Leifer and-one, followed up by four points from Turell, tied the game at 32. The Macs started to play inside, and worked the rock down low. YU took their first lead on a Caleb Milobsky three, but Washington would score the last four points of the half. Yeshiva went into the locker room down three.
The beginning of the second half would be a back-and-forth affair. Washington hit a couple of tough shots to make it 51-44, but a YU 8-0 run, capped off by Kevin Bokor’s beautiful feed to Simcha Halpert inside, gave the Macs back the lead. Halpert would nail two threes, with a Turell turnaround J sandwiched in between, but Washington hit a tough two-pointer and two threes of their own. With 7 ½ minutes to go, the Shoremen led, 64-62.
That is when Washington’s outstanding shooting throughout the affair caught up to them. Six consecutive points by Turell gave YU the four point lead. The Macs were consistently getting lost on defense, but the Shoremen were simply missing their shots. An Ofek Reef layup on a beautiful backdoor cut made it 70-64; Leifer did some dirty work down low to give YU an eight point lead. Two Milobsky free throws made it 74-64. Between the 7 ½ and 1 minute marks in the second half, Washington put the ball in the basket zero times. YU would put the game away with an alley-oop layup from Leifer to Reef. The final score read Yeshiva 78, Washington 68.
“That team is legit,” said Coach Steinmetz, who was impressed with the Macs’ second half effort. When asked about what the difference was in period #2, he said: “Our guys buckled down, and took away the paint. [Caleb] Milobsky made himself a big presence in the paint.” YU’s efforts to not allow Washington looks inside forced the Shoremen, who made less than ⅓ of their threes last season, to shoot from behind the arc.
Ryan Turell continued his torrid early-season pace, as his 32 points led the way for the Macs. Gabe Leifer added 15 points, to go with 17 rebounds. Ofek Reef and Simcha Halpert contributed 13 points each in the winning effort. YU shot 16-17 from the free throw line. Four Washington players had double digit point totals, with none topping 16.
How Did the Macs Execute Today?
The three Keys to the Game were “Play Smart”, “Get Quality Minutes From the Bench”, and “Anticipate Off-Ball Screens”. While the Macs were able to get the victory, it is hard to say that they fully hit on any of these three keys. When it came to playing smart, YU had only taken one shot by the time that they were down 12-2 in the early going. How is this possible? They turned the ball over four times. The Macs were forced to play from behind against a Washington team which was shooting the lights out in the first half. Late in the game, YU did play smart, as they slowed the game down and got the ball inside to put it away. However, poor play early forced the Macs to work for this victory.
After last night’s game, YU’s starters were not fresh today. Had the game gone according to plan, we would have seen the bench get much more playing time. With the exception of 14 effective minutes from Kevin Bokor and Jeff Owen, the starting five and Ofek Reek played virtually the entire game. Late in the match, Ryan Turell appeared to be cramping up a little. The early deficit forced Coach Steinmetz to leave his top players in, and it almost caught up to YU. Fortunately, despite being tired, the Macs played strong defense down the stretch.
The entire year, YU has been hurt by off-ball screens. While Washington didn’t set many, those that they did were successful. The Macs still have to work on communicating on screens, and finding a way to stop their opponents from getting open looks.
Lastly, as Coach Steinmetz highlighted, the Macs were able to buckle down defensively in the second half. They knew that Washington was not a good shooting team from behind the arc, and by playing strong defense inside they forced the Shoremen to take threes. Washington hit their shots early, but eventually regressed to the mean. For the game, the Shoremen were 36.6% from the field, and 31.8% from three.
The Macs return to New York with important experience and a 3-1 record. The home opener will be this Thursday at 8:00 PM, as Yeshiva faces off against Brooklyn in the Max Stern Athletic Center. That game will be broadcast by MacsLive. Make sure to tune in!