The Macs headed to St. Joseph’s College-Brooklyn on Tuesday night for a division matchup. YU played rock-solid defense and shot 50% from three in an all-around excellent effort. The Macs extended their winning streak to seven in an 85-51 victory. Five players scored in double digits for Yeshiva; Gabe Leifer had a triple-double to lead the way for the Macs.
“We did a great job tonight of following the scouting report and defending against a really good offensive team,” said Coach Elliot Steinmetz after the impressive win.
Ofek Reef got the scoring started, as he hit his first two shots to give the Macs a 5-0 lead. Throughout the game, the Macs capitalized on the Bears’ inability to get back on defense after both makes and misses. After Sebastien Etheart hit a three to get St. Joseph’s on the board, the Macs pushed the ball, leading to a layup for Leifer and a Bears’ timeout.
St. Joseph’s failed to guard Dani Katz tightly, so the senior forward took what the defense gave him and nailed an open three-pointer. The Bears would go on a 5-0 run, and came close to taking their first lead of the game. However, Leifer made a beautiful pass to a cutting Katz, extending YU’s lead to four. After a Kavan Meiner shot fell, Leifer completely took over. He hit a long three-pointer, and two possessions later found Caleb Milobsky for an easy layup. Gabe then hit two consecutive threes, both from well beyond the arc. With the Macs now up 23-10, St. Joseph’s called their second timeout.
Katz would hit another three, and followed that up by taking a charge. The Macs did not take their foot off the gas, as they successfully converted home-run passes to Halpert in transition on two consecutive Bears’ misses. Sim would then knock down a three-pointer and floater, giving the Macs a 39-23 advantage.
At the break, YU led 46-29. Leifer had 16 points in the first period; Halpert and Katz had nine and eight, respectively.
Having played man-defense the entire game, the Bears tried a 1-2-1-1 press in the opening minutes of the second half. It was somewhat effective, as YU turned the ball over three times in the first 100 seconds, and failed to score in the first three minutes. However, the Macs were able to adjust, and quickly got back into a rhythm. In one incredible sequence, the ball appeared to be headed over the halfcourt line for a backcourt violation, but Katz made a diving play, sending the rock to Ofek Reef. Reef hit Leifer with a perfect pass; Gabe sent the ball to Halpert, who knocked down a three-pointer. A few minutes later, Katz made the extra pass to Halpert, who hit his third three of the game and gave YU the 54-36 lead.
Following a couple of free throws, the Macs proceeded to go on a 20-3 run, putting the game out of reach. During this six-minute stretch, Milobsky, Alluf, and Reef drove to the hole and cut to the basket on numerous occasions. After an Alluf three, Reef punished the rim with a running slam dunk. Excellent passing led to another Alluf three, as Katz picked up his fifth assist. The run was capped off by a near-dunk from Reef; the ball rolled around the rim and in.
To end the night, Sammy Mandel scored his first points of the year, as the senior hit a three-pointer and a free throw. The final score was 85-51.
Despite scoring zero points in the second half, Leifer finished with 16 points, 17 rebounds, and 11 assists. Both Reef, who shot 7-8 from the field, and Halpert had 15 points. Milobsky had 11 off the bench, while Alluf scored 10. In his second game of the year, Katz showed off his incredible court awareness; he finished with 8 points and 5 assists. Only one player scored more than 7 points for the Bears, who were held to just 29.1% shooting by the Macs.
Eitan Halpert saw extended playing time in his first game back from an upper-body injury. Ryan Turell did not suit up for the Macs tonight, as he has not yet recovered from an ankle injury suffered last week against Old Westbury.
What Factors Contributed to this Rout?
1) Superb Ball and Player Movement
The Macs did an excellent job at moving the ball around tonight. On virtually all of their possessions in halfcourt offense, the Macs reversed the ball, which created holes in St. Joseph’s defense. YU players then moved without the ball, typically on cuts to the basket but also around the perimeter, taking advantage of newly created openings. Throughout the game, the Macs made quick and on-point passing, and the Bears simply could not keep up with all of the moving parts. Even without Turell on the floor, the YU halfcourt offense was working to perfection.
2) Preventing Middle-Drive
St. Joseph’s loves to create early offense, and they rarely let the shot clock tick below 15 seconds. Whenever they were unable to find an open three in transition, the Bears looked to make at most two passes before shooting. The Macs did not allow the St. Joseph’s players to drive down the middle, and forced them to instead shoot mid-range and long two-pointers. On the vast majority of possessions, the Bears ended up shooting either contested or ill-advised shots. This is one of the main reasons why St. Joseph’s only shot 29.1% from the field.
3) Outstanding Offensive Execution
The Macs certainly played their game tonight. Whenever they had fast-break opportunities, they took advantage, and on multiple occasions YU caught the Bears sleeping in transition. However, on most offensive possessions, Yeshiva slowed down the pace and broke down St. Joseph’s defense. Oftentimes, they perfectly executed passes into the post for easy layups. When not working the ball inside, the Macs were able to penetrate the defense and kick out for threes. Tonight was a perfect example of why Yeshiva’s offense is so deadly; every player on the court can shoot, pass, and drive to the rim.
The Macs will be back on the court on Thursday, when they head to Farmingdale to take on the defending Skyline Conference Champions. Make sure to check out MacsLive.com both before and after that critical matchup for our gameday preview and recap.