With a packed house at the Max Stern Athletic Center, the #20 Yeshiva Maccabees took down the Purchase College Panthers in the first round of the Skyline Conference Tournament on Tuesday night. The game was relatively close throughout the first half, with the teams trading the lead early on before the Macs pulled away slightly and took a 13 point lead into the break. The Macs then blew it out of the water in the second half, extending the lead to 42 points at one point and settling for a dominant 35 point win over the Panthers to start off postseason play.
How it Happened:
The Macs jumped out to a quick 2-0 after a strong block by Eitan Halpert and an Ofek Reef transition layup.
1:35 into the game, Jordan Knochen knocked down a three for the Panthers, giving them a 3-2 lead.
With 12:14 left in the first half, Ethan Lasko converted an and-one layup to give the Macs the lead, which they held for the rest of the game.
Ryan Turell threw down an emphatic dunk on the fast break to cap a 9-0 Macs run and extend the lead to 5 with 11:04 left in the half.
Turell hit shots on three consecutive possessions to push the lead to 56-37 with 17:20 left on the clock.
Coming off a career high of 16 points, Max Leibowitz came off the bench and knocked down a three to give the Macs their biggest lead of the night, 93-51.
With two minutes remaining, Zack Muller put the Macs over the century mark with a nice stepback jumper.
In a must-win game, the Macs utilized arguably their greatest strength: knocking down threes at a high rate. They shot an efficient 8-17 from deep, with most of their attempts coming from wide-open looks. The Panthers, on the other hand, struggled from behind the arc, converting on only 29% of their attempts.
The Macs’ defense stepped it up tonight, hounding the Panthers' ball handlers and making it tough for them to find quality looks from the floor. They were able to force 15 turnovers in addition to blocking seven shots, which led to a handful of Macs buckets going the other way. Gabe Leifer contributed heavily to the defensive effort, swatting five shots and collecting a steal as well.
The Macs wanted to win big tonight in front of their home crowd, and they did exactly that, getting their fans involved and putting on a show. There have been times this season where the Macs looked out of sorts, but tonight, they looked fired up and ready to play as they hope to make a deep run come March.
For Purchase College (6-18, 6-11):
Malcolm Hansford-Whyte led the Panthers with 16 points, as well as seven rebounds and two assists.
Terrence Mason scored 12 points and grabbed four rebounds.
Justin Mason scored 10 points off the bench, knocking down two threes in the process.
For Yeshiva (23-3,15-2):
Ryan Turell led all scorers with 29 points in only 20 minutes of action, shooting 11-for-16 from the field.
Gabe Leifer produced his most efficient shooting effort of the season, hitting eight of ten shots for a total of 21 points. He also recorded seven rebounds, five assists, and five blocks. He became Yeshiva University’s all-time leading rebounder tonight with 1,225 rebounds, surpassing David Kufeld’s record of 1,222.
Eitan Halpert scored 13 points, hitting three of his five attempts from deep.
Ofek Reef and Matan Zucker combined for 20 points on 9-for-10 shooting, with each converting on tough layups through traffic and crafty post moves.
The Macs host the College of Mount Saint Vincent in the Skyline Conference Semifinals on Thursday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 pm.