What a turnaround for the Yeshiva men's basketball team! After a tough loss to Wesleyan earlier in the week, they bounced back against Purchase College on Wednesday, snagging a sweet 87-76 victory at the Max Stern Athletic Center.
Zevi Samet was the night's hero, putting the team on his back with an impressive performance. He’ll tell you differently, but his 31 points, three assists, and three rebounds were why the Macs “Purchase'd" a win. However, Samet wasn't the only star shining bright. Effy Freundlich, Roy Itovich, and Dothan Bardichev all delivered double-digit performances, showcasing their skills both in the paint and from downtown. While Samet was busy lighting up the scoreboard, captain Adi Markovich held it down on the defensive end, adding three steals and grabbing five rebounds. It was a total team effort that led to this well-deserved win for the Macs!
The Macs were led by star Zevi Samet who poured in 31 points in an 87-76 bounce-back win over Purcahse. (Photo Credit: Akiva Poppers/MacsLive)
How it Happened:
The game started with quick buckets from Bardichev, Samet, Markovich, and Freundlich, giving Yeshiva an early lead. However, Purchase responded swiftly, taking their first advantage of the game with 14:59 remaining in the first half, which they held onto for most of the period.
Despite Yeshiva's efforts to keep pace with Purchase's high-powered offense, they struggled to close the gap and reclaim the lead. The teams traded baskets back and forth, but the Macs couldn't quite catch up.
With just over two minutes left in the first half, Yeshiva finally closed the gap. Samet's bucket, followed by five consecutive points from Freundlich, gave YU the lead back with a score of 35-34, their first in nearly 13 minutes. However, Purchase quickly responded with five unanswered points, and Yeshiva trailed again at halftime, 38-35.
The Macs came out swinging in the second half, answering an early Purchase layup with deep threes from Samet and Markovich to regain the lead at 41-40 within two minutes. Yeshiva's offense fired on all cylinders and the lead changed hands six times in five minutes.
Yeshiva eventually took the lead for good with an and-one play from Samet, putting them up 55-53 with 11:48 left in regulation. From there, they maintained control of the game, keeping their lead around 11 points for most of the final ten minutes. When the buzzer sounded to end the game, the Maccabees had secured another conference victory, winning 87-76 at Max Stern.
Pounding the Paint:
The Macs owned the paint, outscoring the Panthers 38-28 and aggressively driving to the basket. The Panthers came in as the top rim protectors in the Skyline conference, but Yeshiva didn't back down, taking the play right to them. They also didn't shy away from the Panthers' fast pace, actually outscoring them 19-11 in transition.
What sealed the deal for the Macs was the support from their bench. They outscored Purchase 25-6, with players like Roy Itovich and senior Adi Markovich stepping up. Markovich not only contributed offensively with seven points but also made his presence felt on the boards with five rebounds. Ben Haber and Gabriel Landau, also brought ferocious energy, especially on the defensive end.
The Samet Sauce:
The true game-changer of the night was Zevi Samet. He was hands down the best player on the court, dominating on both ends. He outplayed Purchase star Chad Duke, who had 17 points. Despite Purchase's efforts to defend the perimeter, Samet adapted his game, showing versatility. He was a force inside, going 7-8 from the free-throw line and showcasing an electric mid-range game, shooting 11-22. Even though he endured a rough night from beyond the arc, going 2-9, one of those threes was beautiful. He grabbed a rebound, pulled off a slick in-and-out dribble that sent his defender flying, then drained the three. It was a moment that lit up both the crowd and his teammates, sending the Macs on their way. The message was clear. “Get on my back.” I’m taking us to victory.” That’s a mentality Yeshiva wants to see more of. The best player needs to be your best player. Your shooters have to shoot, and Samet did that.
Chad Duke had 17 points, Desmond Ward had 14 off the bench, and Rahid Nikiema added 13.
Purchase remained in the game with their relentless offensive play, outscoring Yeshiva 12-5 on second-chance points.
Zevi Samet led the way with 31 points.
The Macs also received double-digit performances from Roy Itovich and Dothan Bardichev, who had 14 each.
Effy Freundlich was allowed to shine and ran with it. The Montreal native had 15 points, including going 6-9 from mid-range.
The Macs will travel to Old Westbury in another Skyline Conference matchup on Sunday January 28th. Tip-off is at noon.
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