After a down-to-the-wire opening game, Saint Joseph hit a final second shot and held on for a 83-79 victory. With the loss, the Macs drop to 0-1, a similar fate to their opening loss to the Blue Jays just last year.
How it Happened:
The game started slow for both offenses, with Saint Joseph specifically struggling to hit the long ball. They opened 0-5 from beyond the arc.
Despite a slight early lead for YU, the Blue Jays fought back with a 12-2 run led by a couple of baskets by sixth-year senior Tyree Mitchell.
Zevi Samet and Or Sundjyvsky got hot as the first half progressed, scoring 16 and 13 respectively, with very efficient shooting.
Samet demonstrated his all-around talent, notching a beautiful assist and corner three before knocking down a huge and-one right before the buzzer, putting the Macs up 39-33 at halftime.
Saint Joseph opened the second half by attacking the basket and quickly closed the six-point gap with inside shooting by forwards Friedrich Feldrappe and Jalen Samuels.
The Blue Jays continued to challenge Yeshiva under the basket, as Kevin Cummings drove hard to the basket to give Saint Joseph the edge.
The last five minutes saw the teams trade jabs, with Saint Joseph hitting big free throws and Sundjyvsky leading YU down the stretch.
Sundjyvsky was sent to the line for two free throws with about a minute remaining, hitting one and tying the game at 79.
With one last play, Lance Altenor drilled a long mid-range jumper with just three seconds left, sealing the win for the Blue Jays.
Zevi Samet and Or Sundjyvsky each had 27 for the Macs. Yet it wasn't enough as Yeshiva fell 83-79 to University of Saint Joseph Connecticut in their season opener. (Photo credit: Akiva Poppers/Macs Live)
Scoring in Different Fashions:
One of the notable points of the first half was the surprising lack of Yeshiva’s familiar motion offense. Instead, the players seemed to focus more heavily on instinctual scoring, mixing in occasional set plays to change the pace. This led to mixed results, with Sundjyvsky and Samet both putting up good point totals, but the offense looking slightly sluggish overall. The second half saw the motion offense start to return, but the scoring still seemed to flow strictly through Samet and Sundjyvsky.
Trouble in the Paint:
The biggest issue for the Macs in their first game was their inside defense. After losing their inside presence with Matan Zucker’s graduation, it was a question of who would take the role of leader down low. This game only added more questions than answers, as Saint Joseph’s second-half attack was almost entirely focused on attacking the paint. This caused both easy baskets and a pile-up of fouls, which in turn led to critical free throws and a foul-out from Samet.
The Little Things:
No one game is indicative of a team’s ability, but it’s never easy to open the season with a tough, come-from-behind loss. 19 turnovers in a game are generally a concerning sign, but opening games tend to feature early issues with chemistry and fundamentals. Nonetheless, YU opened with a loss last year as well, and there’s no reason to believe they won’t come back stronger once again.
For Saint Joseph:
Jalen Samuels topped the Blue Jays in scoring, finishing the game with 17 points on an efficient 8-12 shooting.
Saint Joseph did a great job spreading the ball around, with three additional players reaching double-digit scoring.
USJ struggled to knock down threes, hitting only four the entire game, but they made up for it with an extremely efficient 63% on their other field goals.
Zevi Samet and Or Sundjyvsky led the Macs with 27 points apiece.
The Macs shot well from behind the arc, ending their first game with an impressive 46.2% mark.
Assists were short in number in the opener, with the team only notching two in the entire second half, down from a more respectable seven in the first.
The Macs will look to turn their tides with their upcoming game against Oneonta on Saturday night, November 11. This will be their first game of the Michael A. Freilich Tournament taking place at Dewar Arena, with tipoff scheduled for 8:00 P.M.