They had it. This was shaping up to be a much-needed textbook Macs victory. The mini two-game skid appeared finished, and the Skyline Conference's second seed locked up. However, what transpired over the final 15 minutes was a reminder of how fragile a double-digit lead in basketball can be.
The Yeshiva men's basketball team squandered a 13-point lead, dropping their third straight conference game to Sarah Lawrence College Wednesday night, 77-73. The Skyline losing streak is Yeshiva’s longest since 2014-15. The defeat also means the Macs must win their final two games to secure the Gold division or need help elsewhere.
That said, it wasn't all bad news. Zevi Samet, the reigning Skyline Player-of-the-Week, again did his thing, racking up 23 points for the Maccabees, passing Gil Bash for 27th on the all-time scoring list at 1,094 points. And let's not forget Effy Freundlich and Roy Itcovichi, both hitting double digits with 19 and 12 points, respectively. Freundlich even set a new personal best! The duo were impactful on both ends of the floor. Freundlich grabbed four rebounds and snagged three steals and two blocks, while Itcovichi racked up four steals and a block. Yet they could only play with fire for so long before they were overwhelmed and worn down by the Gryphons spirited physicality.
How it Happened:
- The game started with Yeshiva taking the lead early, thanks to some sharp shooting from Samet, Freundlich, Itcovichi, and Dothan Bardichev. They were ahead by six points multiple times in the first half.
- Despite a brief setback when the Gryphons took a one-point lead with about seven and a half minutes left in the first half, Yeshiva quickly bounced back, reclaiming the lead with a clutch three-pointer from Samet. They held onto that lead going into halftime, up 43-39.
- An early dunk from Derek Hickman gave Sarah Lawrence the first points of the second half. Yeshiva responded with an 11-0 run, bookended by a Samet splash from downtown. It was a 54-41 Macs lead with 15:30 left, as things were looking bright.
- Yeshiva managed to maintain that lead for most of the second half, even leading 67-56 with 6:26 left after an and one by Yoav Oselka.
-Yet, as the game neared its end, things got tense. It didn’t help that Oselka and l Bardichev fouled out. A Freundlich layup gave the Macs a 73-72 lead with 56 seconds left. But a Lucas Murray layup eighteen seconds later regained a one-point lead for the Gryphons. Freundlich tried to play hero again but missed a layup. Murray nailed two more free throws with 24 seconds left, putting Sarah Lawrence up 3. After Samet’s game-tying attempt was off the mark, Eamon Kelly sealed Yeshiva’s fate at the charity stripe, sending the home crowd into a frenzy, celebrating a 77-73 win.
The Macs coughed up a late lead in a heartbreaking 77-73 defeat at Conference rival Sarah Lawrence on Wednesday night. (Photo Credit: Akiva Poppers/MacsLive)
One area where Sarah Lawrence had the upper hand was in points scored in the paint. While Yeshiva managed to tally 18 points inside, Sarah Lawrence dominated with 28 points in the paint. The Gryphons proved more effective at penetrating the Macs' defense and capitalizing on opportunities close to the basket, ultimately contributing to their comeback efforts.
What played a significant role in Yeshiva's loss was their inability to capitalize on turnovers despite forcing the issue and generating opportunities. The visitors struggled to convert them into points, scoring only 22 points off turnovers compared to Sarah Lawrence's 30. The disparity ultimately came back to hurt the Macs as they were unable to pull away and add to their lead.
Yeshiva's bench struggled to match the production of Sarah Lawrence's reserves. While the Macs bench contributed 8 points, Sarah Lawrence's bench came through with 16 points, effectively providing a boost when their starters needed rest. Yes, Yeshiva is dealing with injuries, but even this offensive output is a new low for them.
For Yeshiva (13-10, 10-4 Skyline):
- Zevi Samet led the way with 23 points. Effy Freundlich added 19, and Roy Itcovichi had a dozen.
-Dothan Bardichev had six assists and five rebounds.
-Adi Markovich had four steals, tying with Itovichi for the team lead.
For Sarah Lawrence (11-1, 8-5 Skyline):
-Eamon Kelly led the way with 21 points.
-Braden Burman added 15 points.
-Lucas Murray, who capped the comeback down the stretch, had 13 points.
Coming up next, the Macs are back at Max Stern for their last regular-season home game of the year! They’ll be looking to win on senior night against the University of Mount Saint Vincent on Tuesday, February 13th, at 8:00 PM.
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