Despite trailing by nine at halftime, Yeshiva turned things around in the second half and battled back for a 79-74 victory over the Mount Saint Mary College Knights. The Macs ignited the crowd in this home opener, bumping their win streak to three.
How It Happened:
The game started out slow for the Macs, who struggled to score despite getting decent looks. The Knights used this to build an early lead, one they would hold the entire first half.
Max Zakheim was an early spark for YU, scoring their first six points on three strong drives to the basket.
Zevi Samet helped keep the Macs in the game, hitting two huge threes to combat Mount Saint Mary’s continuous scoring.
Things started to look bleak for YU towards the end of the half, with a seven-point run by the Knights’ Jayden Figueroa.
Despite YU’s attempts to crawl back in the half’s final minutes, a foul on the Knight’s Ryan Graham’s three-point attempt put the Macs down nine going into the break.
The Macs adjusted perfectly for the second half, quickly tying the game at 44 with scoring bursts from Zakheim and Samet.
The offensive surge continued, culminating in a massive 12-0 scoring run for YU, sending the crowd into a frenzy.
The large lead didn’t last, though, as the Knights slowly chipped back into the game and banked off costly turnovers from the Macs.
Samet and Zakheim helped seal the deal, hitting more outside shots as YU held on to their lead until the final buzzer.
The Macs rallied for an emotional home opening victory in the first game at the MSAC since the October 7th attacks on Israel. (Photo Credit: MacsLive)
Making The Big Plays:
As the offense continues to get hot as the season progresses, Yeshiva demonstrated its ability to make the necessary plays in key situations. The game was a constant back and forth, with the Macs both falling behind and taking large leads a number of times. In both situations, YU held strong, especially in the second half. Max Zakheim epitomized YU’s fight, leading the Macs with 25 points while making an impact on the defensive side with an impressive five steals.
Cleaning Up The Turnovers:
Overall, the Macs put together a tremendous performance in their win over the Knights, but much of the game's momentum hinged on turnovers from both sides. In the first half, the Macs attempted a number of cross-court passes, nearly all unsuccessful, helping the Knights build their early lead. YU was able to clean up their play later on, all while forcing Mount Saint Mary into quick mistakes to open the second half. The Knights got into early foul trouble thanks to steals on inbound plays and aggressive defense and allowed the Macs to climb back for the win.
There’s No Place Like Home:
After playing their first three games on the road, the Macs' home opener was highly anticipated. The crowd didn’t disappoint, with constant uproar on YU runs and close calls. Once the second-half run got going, the Macs played into the excitement. Each critical basket or defensive play was cemented with a burst of energy from the players. The momentum swing followed suit, and the Knights never closed the gap.
For Mount Saint Mary’s:
The Knights got the brunt of their scoring from their big men; forwards Jayden Figueroa and Connor Cyran led the team with 17 and 14 points, respectively.
Figueroa led the Knights in a number of other categories, including 11 rebounds and four blocks.
As a team, the Knights managed to stay on top for the majority of the game, suffering a rare loss despite holding the lead for nearly 66% of the game.
In addition to Zakheim’s impressive 25 points, YU was led by Samet, with 20 points on impressive shooting, and a huge 12 points by Itcovichi coming off the bench.
A large factor in YU’s comeback was their high percentage shooting in the second half, topping the 50% mark on field goals and hitting over 46% of their threes.
Continuing their success on the fastbreak from last year, YU dominated on the run again in this game, outscoring the Knights 22-9 on fastbreak points.
The Macs Will look to keep the win streak rolling on Saturday Night, November 18th. Their opponent will be #9 NYU, tipping off at the Max Stern Athletic Center at 8:30.