After a disappointing performance against Occidental, the Macs played with a lot more intensity and passion on Sunday against Caltech. The result? YU Macs 77, Caltech Beavers 58.
Caltech put some pressure on the Macs in the beginning of the second half, cutting YU’s lead to just three. However, the Macs would go on a 32-16 run to close out the game, as the Beavers struggled to keep up with the Macs' shooting attack. YU never trailed in the game.
The Macs executed their game plan to perfection. Coach Elliot Steinmetz was pleased with his team’s play. “I think that the major difference was in our commitment to running our stuff,” Steinmetz said. “The movement was better, and our defensive focus was significantly improved.” Much of this can be credited to second-year big man Caleb Milobsky, who was very vocal with teammates on screens and switches.
As Coach Steinmetz pointed out, the team as a whole was more defensively aware this game. Caltech had lots of trouble scoring, only netting 6 points in the first 11 minutes of the game. The Macs’ stifling defense along with their tough press caused the Beavers to cough up the ball 10 times during that stretch.
Between the 15:22 and 10:05 marks in the first half, the Macs went on a 10-0 run, with all points being scored by Turell. Eventually, the lead ballooned to 20 points, as Yeshiva’s stellar defense shut down Caltech’s attack.
Due to all-around play off the bench by Ofek Reef, Kevin Bokor and Jeff Owen, the Macs were able to hold onto the lead at the half, but a late run by Caltech cut the Beavers deficit to 11.
The Macs started the second half slowly, allowing the Beavers to go on a 13-5 run in the first four minutes, as the score got to an uncomfortable 45-42. However, in the following two minutes, Yeshiva went on an 11-0 run of their own, with two 3’s and a dunk from Ryan, and a block, assist and made three from Gabe Leifer. This extended the Macs’ lead to 56-42.
The Macs were able to hold onto the lead for the rest of the game, with Simcha Halpert scoring 9 of their last 21 points.
Ryan Turell showed up in front of his hometown crowd, dunking multiple times and hitting three 3’s on his way to a career-high 36 points on just 18 shots. The sophomore guard added 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and a block in his dominant performance.
Other notable players for the Maccabees were Simcha Halpert, who scored 17 points, and Leifer, who had 7 points, 5 rebounds, and a team-high 6 assists in just 23 minutes of gameplay.
“We just played selflessly,” said Milobsky. “We all worked to get the ball to the open man, and when we do that, we dominate.” Caleb’s strong screens and passing out of the post were key to Yeshiva getting many open looks.
What Did The Macs Do Right?
The three Keys to the Game were “Communicate On Defense”, “Space The Floor”, and “Box Out”. The Macs executed to perfection on the first two and did a good-but-not-great job when it came to boxing out.
The team communicated very well on the less glamorous side of the ball, with several players, most notably Milobsky, yelling out what Caltech was doing, to help their teammates respond. With this quarterbacking by Milobsky, the big men were able to execute successful hedging, and guards were able to rotate onto open shooters without fear of a Beavers player getting open.
Spacing the floor has never been an issue for the sharpshooting Maccabees, but when playing a team as big as Caltech their doing so became all-the-more important. Simcha, the ever-so-talented shooter, shot 5-12 from the three-point line, with Turell and Leifer going a combined 4-9 from behind the arc. While they did not hit a three-point basket this game, forwards Bar Alluf, Caleb Milobsky, and Kevin Bokor consistently ran around the perimeter to help create room by drawing bigger defenders out of the lane.
The Macs boxed out the Beavers players well for the most part, but there were a few instances where Caltech got multiple second-chance opportunities in one-possession because of their effort crashing the boards. As a team, the Beavers grabbed 15 offensive rebounds. This was expected to be a struggle for the Macs, but by preventing Caltech from scoring on most of these second chances, YU was able to distance themselves and win by 19.
Having completed their two-game trip to California, the Macs will have six days off. They will head to Maryland for two games next weekend, as they face Salisbury University on Saturday night and Washington College on Sunday. Both of these games will be broadcast by the home teams. MacsLive will still cover the games with previews and recaps, as well as the in-game scoreboard.
Have a good week everyone, and Let’s Go Macs!