Max Zakheim’s 23-point effort was not enough to beat Xavier Allen’s 26 points and an overall more experienced Golden Eagles team. The Macs struggled at the very beginning of the game, but things were looking up as they ended the half with a tied score. However, St. Joseph’s University Long Island did not let up, and its constant pressure in all facets of its game eventually overwhelmed Yeshiva University; the Golden Eagles walked away on top, 73-62.
The Golden Eagles won the tip to start the game and Spencer Malloy quickly opened the scoring with a jumper. His teammates followed that up with another jumper and a pair of three-pointers to put St. Joseph’s up 10-4 just over two minutes into the half. The Golden Eagles continued to control the lead until the Macs emerged from a timeout having suddenly found their stride on defense. Paired with some solid shooting, Yeshiva's defense allowed the team to earn its first lead of the game with around 12 minutes to go in the half. Both teams’ defenses kept the score tight, although the Golden Eagles did manage to earn a six-point edge with just over two minutes before halftime. Yeshiva was not fazed and it came back from that deficit to finish the half with an even score. With the way the first few minutes of the half went, it seemed like the momentum was in the Macs’ favor heading into halftime.
Yeshiva looked really good to begin the second half. They applied pressure on the Golden Eagles, leading to several turnovers and off-balance shots. St. Joseph’s, however, continued to play hard and well, which allowed them to keep the score very tight. Then, with 10 minutes left, the momentum suddenly swung in the Golden Eagles’ favor, as the Macs began to cave in on themselves. Tearing through the Macs’ defense, Allen and St. Joseph’s went on a 15-0 run, suddenly jumping out to a 13-point lead. With five minutes left, the Macs found themselves unable to stage a comeback, and they went on to lose by 11 points.
Perhaps the most glaring flaw in how the Macs performed on Saturday evening was found in their three-point shooting. Oren Betesh and Zevi Samet have been Yeshiva’s signature three-pointer shooters for much of the season, but Betesh had limited playing time and Samet completed just one of his 10 three-point attempts. The Macs attempted 26 three-pointers and made just five of them, earning them a three-point percentage of 19.2%. It is one thing if a team has trouble making threes and it adjusts and pivots to two-pointers. But the Macs would not stop attempting— and failing to hit— three-pointers, leading to more turnovers and missed opportunities.
Zakheim Game Changer:
The Macs lost, but Zakheim being on the court was still a game-changer. The Bryant University transfer offers the young team stability. He is able to control the game without being selfish by giving opportunities to his teammates even if he has an opening to the basket for himself. Zakheim’s presence simply changes the way the Macs play, not to mention his 23 points during 37 minutes of play.
For St. Joseph’s University Long Island (3-5, 1-1 Skyline):
Allen led the Golden Eagles with 26 points, landing 11 of his 21 field goals.
Malloy totaled 13 points and eight rebounds.
St. Joseph’s was good on 52.8% of field goals, 42.9% of three-pointers, and 68.8% of its free throws.
For Yeshiva (8-5, 6-2 Skyline):
Zakheim gathered 23 points, four rebounds, two assists, and two steals.
Samet went 7 for 17 on field goals, gathering 18 points. He also collected seven rebounds.
The Macs shot 43.6% on field goals, 19.2% from behind the arc, and 52.9% on free throws.
The Macs host Immaculata University this Wednesday for a non-conference matchup. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:00 PM in the Max Stern Athletic Center.