The day Macs fans have been waiting for is finally here! The Macs will open their home and Skyline Conference schedules tonight at 8:00 against Mount Saint Mary Knights. This is anticipated to be an emotional night for the Macs team and their fan base as this year’s homecoming is taking place during the Israeli war against Hamas as a response to horrific events that took place on October 7. Still, the Macs look to build on their success at the Michael A. Freilich Tournament in Oneonta this weekend and extend their winning streak to 3 games.
Mount Saint Mary comes into this game 0-1, having been blown out by Misericordia by a score of 112-59 in their only game so far. The Macs come into this game having won four straight games against Mount Saint Mary in past seasons. Last year, they defeated Mount Saint Mary 90-78 at home in a game in which Roy Itcovichi had a career night with 22 points and 14 rebounds. Mount Saint Mary is led by 6’8” Junior Forward Jayden Figueroa, the reigning Skyline Conference Defensive Player of the Year. In the two teams’ matchup last year, it was Jayden Figueroa who led the Knights in scoring with 26 points. As this season begins, he’s already recorded 11 points and 11 rebounds in their lone game. Mount Saint Mary will look to run their offense through him this season. On the defensive side of the ball, the Knights are known for their solid zone defense and will look to shut down key Macs Zevi Samet and Or Sundjyvsky, who was named the Skyline Conference Rookie of the Week yesterday.
The Macs open their Skyline Conference and Home portion of the season against Mount SaintMary (Photo Credit: Akiva Poppers/ MacsLive)
Keys to the Game:
Shutting Down Jayden Figueroa: Figueroa has been known to be a Mac killer throughout his career at Mount Saint Mary. He scored 26 points alongside 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 steals in the 2 teams’ matchup last year. Also, in their matchup 2 years ago, he scored 12 points and 2 rebounds- good enough for team highs in points in both matchups. However, in order for the Knights to play well, they really need him to play well. The Macs need to shut him down on both sides of the ball.
Playing their own style: Mount Saint Mary is expected to play zone defense and try to bait the Macs into early shots. Their zone defense is designed to dictate the game flow and force opponents to play to their style rather than chasing the Macs around, so it should be interesting to see how that plays out.
Inside Defense: The Macs have struggled with defending the interior so far in the early going of the season. As a matter of fact, 55% of points that the Macs have allowed this season have come from inside the paint. In their matchup last year, Mount Saint Mary outscored the Macs in the paint by a margin of 50-22. If the Macs don’t execute their paint defense properly, the Knights will potentially expose them, which could lead to another lopsided margin in favor of Mount Saint Mary.
How to Watch: Tip-off at the Max Stern Athletic Center is set for 8:00 PM. You can also catch the game right here on MacsLive