On Tuesday night, the #17 Yeshiva University Maccabees headed to Old Westbury for their final road game against a Skyline Conference opponent. Many expected this to be a high-scoring matchup, but the two teams combined for just 49 first half points. Ultimately, Old Westbury was unable to recover from a poor start, and Yeshiva went on to win their 23rd straight game by a final score of 87-63.
There was a lid on the basket in the opening minutes for the Panthers, who missed their first 12 shots from the field. Yeshiva was struggling as well, and had four turnovers in the first five minutes. However, the Macs were able to get some of their shots to fall, and slowly but surely built up a 14-0 lead. A Cameron Winston jumper with 10:34 on the clock gave the Panthers their first points of the contest.
The poor passing continued for the Macs, who were bailed out by their shooting prowess throughout the first half. The Panthers still did not look 100%, and only had six points at the 5-minute mark. However, a quick 8-2 Old Westbury run cut the YU lead down to 23-14.
The Macs bounced back, scoring nine points to the Panthers’ three in the final few minutes. Two of these plays featured fantastic assists. A cross-court pass from Tyler Hod led to an Eitan Halpert three; a beautiful Dani Katz dish to older brother Simcha resulted in a layup. The Macs went into the locker room holding a 32-17 advantage.
The two teams went blow-for-blow to start the second half, and a Pedro Marquez three-pointer seven minutes into the period cut YU’s lead to 14. During that time, the Panthers tried out a 1-2-1-1 press, but with limited success. Some excellent passing led to an Ofek Reef layup with 8 minutes to go, and Yeshiva was up 20, their largest lead of the game.
Old Westbury attempted to come back with the long ball, but with arguably their best shooter (Charles Wingate) injured, they could not find any rhythm from deep. Marquez did hit a triple and complete an old-fashioned three-point play, but the Macs’ consistent scoring was too much. An 11-4 run broke the game wide open, and Yeshiva was up 74-52 with three minutes to go.
With Old Westbury in desperation mode, YU scored 17 points in less than a three minute span, including multiple Turell dunks and easy layups in transition. Alon Jakubowitz would put the icing on the cake, as the long, first-year player hit a turnaround jumper which appeared to come right out of Coach Sweetney’s playbook. The final margin of a victory was 24, as the Macs led from start to finish.
Turell had a game-high 32 points, with all but one of his shot attempts on the night coming from inside the arc. Gabriel Leifer picked up 16 points and 17 defensive rebounds, while Simcha Halpert scored 15. The Macs’ final shooting numbers were along the lines of what they have been averaging in the Skyline Conference, but were arguably inflated due to Old Westbury’s collapse down the stretch.
A Win is a Win
This was not the Macs’ finest performance in any sense of the word, but at the end of the day, despite not playing well, Yeshiva won by 24. Turell played well on both sides of the ball, but he had to bail out some of YU’s other stars. Ofek Reef and Eitan Halpert had solid contributions, while Dani Katz’s impact was clear when on the court. However, the argument can be made that, if Old Westbury would have played as well as they did in November when they last played Yeshiva, the Macs would have been in some serious trouble.
The Macs will close out their historic regular season on Saturday night against St. Joseph’s College-Long Island. It will be Senior Night at the Max Stern Athletic Center, and the accomplishments of this trailblazing class will be acknowledged. If you can’t make it to the game, be sure to tune in to our broadcast!