In the quarterfinal round of the Skyline Conference Tournament, the #3 Yeshiva Maccabees knocked off the #6 St Joseph’s Long Island Golden Eagles, 67-58. Perhaps mentally fatigued from this past weekend’s situation surrounding their no contest against Farmingdale State, the Macs stumbled out of the gate, playing one of their worst halves of basketball of the season. However, they were able to turn things around, dominating the second half and cruising ahead toward the semifinals.
The first half was controlled by St Joseph’s, with big man Spencer Malloy having success down low against any Mac who tried guarding him. Things were looking good for the Golden Eagles, as Ryan McNeely connected on a layup with 1:20 left in the first half to give his team a 28-17 lead, their biggest of the game. Zevi Samet then knocked down a three just before the half to cut the lead down to eight at the break.
It was a tale of two halves, as the Macs looked like a completely different team after the break than the one that took the court in the first half. Max Zakheim hit a quick layup, and a few minutes later, Samet connected on back-to-back layups of his own, first tying the game and then giving the Macs their first lead since the opening minutes. He then hit a three to push the lead to five, capping an 18-5 run to start the second half, but the Golden Eagles responded with seven straight points to reclaim the lead by a score of 40-38. The teams went back and forth for the next few minutes until Oren Betesh and Zakheim knocked down threes on back-to-back possessions as part of a Yeshiva 10-0 run, and from there, the Macs were able to secure a crucial victory.
Second Half Resurgence:
All that needs to be talked about tonight is the way the Macs responded after their poor play in the first half. They were fortunate enough to only be down eight at halftime, and knowing that their season could end tonight if they didn’t wake up, they came out of the locker room playing inspired basketball. They looked confident and they fed off of the home crowd’s energy as they stormed back and grabbed the W.
Fast Break Points:
The Macs’ defense played a big role in their comeback, and their whopping 20 fast break points were a direct result of it. They tipped balls, deflected passes, and blocked shots, giving themselves ample opportunity to convert in transition.
For St Joseph’s Long Island (13-12, 10-6):
Xavier Allen was incredible, leading all scorers with 29 points along with nine rebounds.
Spencer Malloy put up an impressive double-double with 15 points and 15 rebounds.
Alec Tabada added seven points and nine rebounds.
For Yeshiva (16-9, 12-3):
Zevi Samet led the Macs with 19 points, also recording six rebounds and four steals.
Oren Betesh and Max Zakheim each scored 14 points.
Matan Zucker had a double-double of his own, with 10 points and 13 rebounds.
The Macs move on to face #2 Manhattanville on Thursday night on the road. Tip-off is scheduled for 5 PM.