On Saturday night, the #21 Yeshiva University Maccabees hosted the reigning Skyline Conference Champions, Farmingdale State. Yeshiva’s offense could not be stopped, and the Macs eliminated Farmingdale State’s biggest threats for the entirety of the contest. YU held a lead from start to finish, and the Macs went on to win their 22nd consecutive game by a final score of 98-71.
“There’s always room to get better,” Ryan Turell told President David Schwartzman on the MacsLive Postgame Show. “We’re at the top of our peak offensively, but if we can buckle down defensively like we did at the beginning of the second half, we’re unbeatable.”
Two Simcha Halpert treys had the Macs off and running, as Yeshiva held an 8-2 lead just over two minutes into the game. A Ryan Turell old-fashioned three-point play was followed up by a Gabriel Leifer triple, extending the YU advantage to nine.
With 12:20 on the clock, and Turell sitting at 997 points in his collegiate career, Ryan camped on the left wing. Leifer found him, and the spectacular sophomore drilled a three-pointer, sending the crowd into a frenzy. Turell’s historic shot makes him the fastest player in Yeshiva University history to reach 1000 points (47 games), breaking a mark held by Stuart Poloner since the early 70’s. Ryan is also the second Maccabee to hit the milestone this season; Leifer did it earlier this year, and it was, incredibly enough, also on a three-pointer to get exactly 1000. Turell was the one who made the pass to Gabe on that play.
“It’s just a product of the offense,” Turell said, regarding the achivement. “[It comes from] playing with unselfish guys like Gabe, Sim, and Dani, who are willing to move the ball and give up a shot to get a better one.”
Just seconds later, Farmingdale State turned the ball over, and Ofek Reef capitalized with an and-one off of the fast break. This put YU up 24-13, but the Rams would respond, going on a 7-0 run. However, a Dani Katz bucket broke Yeshiva’s four-minute scoring drought, as well as the Rams’ momentum.
With under four minutes to go in the half, and Yeshiva leading by seven, the Macs went on a tear. Ofek Reef nailed a trey, and Farmingdale State called timeout. However, the Rams turned the ball over on their ensuing possession, and it was Reef who put in a fast break layup. On YU’s next trip down the floor, Caleb Milobsky got in on the action, as he added three more to the Macs’ rapidly growing total. Turell and Leifer then converted on back-to-back layups in the post. Reef brought the crowd out to a standing ovation with another three, concluding a 15-4 Yeshiva run in the span of just 2 1/2 minutes. The Macs hit six consecutive shots during the incredible stretch, which was bookended by Reef’s outside shooting. YU went into the locker room leading 48-28.
The second period saw the Macs go from hot to even hotter. Simcha Halpert knocked down three consecutive threes in the span of 70 seconds, as he was simply unstoppable from behind the arc. In fact, Sim went on a 14-0 personal run to start the half for the Macs, and after a Turell layup, the Yeshiva lead had ballooned to 31 with 16 minutes remaining in the contest.
The Macs did not slow down, and after coming so close on numerous occasions, Ofek Reef finally dunked in front of the home crowd. A Leifer lay up with nine minutes to go put Yeshiva up by 39 points, 83-44. As has happened in virtually all blowouts the Macs have been a part of this season (all went YU’s way except for one, the first game of the year), the losing team made a run towards the end. It was not enough for the Rams, and when the buzzer sounded, the Maccabees clinched their 22nd win in a row.
“[22 consecutive wins] doesn’t mean anything if we don’t win the Skyline, and win a couple of games in the tournament,” Turell said of the mindset in the locker room.
On the historic night, Ryan led the way with 24 points. Simcha Halpert had his best shooting game of the year, as he went a perfect 6-6 from outside, and scored 22 points. Gabe put up a classic-Leifer line, with 10 assists, 9 points, and 7 rebounds. Reef had 13 points, while Dani Katz had arguably his best game of the year, as his hedging and passing was on point. YU shot 58.7% as a team, and 54.2% from three-point range. The Macs also held Farmingdale State’s three best shooters—Schenkel, Kennedy, and Platt—to 5-22 shooting, and 1-7 from behind the arc.
A Mac Clinic
Yeshiva put on an absolute clinic on both sides of the ball tonight. Farmingdale State used three different defenses—man-to-man, 2-3 zone, and a 1-2-2 press—and the Macs torched all of them. The YU off-ball screens sprung open shooters like Simcha Halpert, who was impeccable from deep, and Turell was too much inside. Leifer and Katz boxed out, hedged, and passed their way around the Farmingdale defense. Reef showed off his energy and speed, and created fast break opportunities.
Schenkel and Kennedy could not get open from behind the arc, and essentially had to make something happen with the ball in their hands. Turell’s length contributed to Kennedy’s shooting woes, while Sim didn’t allow Schenkel to get into catch-and-shoot positions. The Rams’ big boys were solid, but with the Macs shooting the lights out, it was impossible for them to keep up with twos.
The Macs will be back in action on Tuesday night, when they will face Old Westbury in their final road game against a Skyline Conference opponent this season. YU will next take to the Max Stern Athletic Center court on Saturday, when they will play St. Joseph’s-Long Island on Senior Night. Be sure to continue to follow our coverage of this historic season on MacsLive.com, the official broadcast home of the Yeshiva University Maccabees.