Updated: Oct 17, 2021
The Macs advanced to 6-0 on the season and extended their incredible win streak to 35 games after a hard fought 71-62 rematch win against the Saint Joseph Blue Jays. The Macs needed a big second half to steal this one after trailing 35-27 at the half. The Macs are now one win away from tying UW-Platteville for the second longest win streak in Division III basketball at 36 wins according to D3hoops.com.
How it Happened:
Both teams started off slow offensively with neither team scoring in each of their first three possessions.
Adi Markovich came off the bench to replace Eitan Halpert, who got into early foul trouble, in time to score the Macs first points of the game on a 3 pointer.
The Macs were able to jump out to a 21-14 lead early and seemed to be on their way to a big first half lead until the Blue Jays responded with a 10-0 run to retake the lead with 5 minutes left in the 1st half
The Macs were unable to respond to that run by the Blue jays for the rest of the first half as they were plagued by sloppy turnovers and poor outside shooting.
The Macs went into the break down 35-27 while shooting 11/30 from the field and 3 of 10 from downtown and with 6 turnovers.
The Macs quickly responded out of the locker room with a 10-2 run to start the second half and tied the game at 37. After the Macs big run to start the second half, both teams traded buckets for a few minutes.
With just over 4 minutes left in the game, Ryan Turell banked in a jumper to give the Macs a 61-55 lead. A few minutes later, Eitan Halpert grabbed an offensive rebound off a Turell miss and kicked it out to Leifer who nailed a 3 pointer to give the Macs a 68-57 lead with 1:45 left that all but sealed the Macs 35th consecutive win.
The Macs were not their usual dominant offensive team today, but thanks to their defense, it did not matter. The Macs held the Blue Jays to only 26 second half points on only 40% shooting. This is the Macs third game this season where they have held their opponent to under 65 points. If the Macs can find their offensive rhythm while maintaining this level of defense, they will reach another level of dominance.
Second Chance Points:
The Macs had 10 offensive rebounds while the Blue Jays only had 5. These offensive rebounds led to some big 2nd chance points being scored for the Macs. Two of the last three baskets scored by the Macs were made possible by offensive rebounds from Eitan Halpert and Ofek Reef.
Clutch 3 point shooting:
The Macs had shot 8 of 29 in the first 3 halves against USJ, but in the second half of tonight’s game they shot 6 of 13 from downtown including big 3s by Halpert, Turell, and Leifer to propel the Macs to a win. The Macs have proven these last few games they can win while shooting poorly from behind the arc, but tonight it certainly helped that they were able to convert on those shots in the 2nd half.
For Saint Joseph:
Jordan Powell and Jaecee Martin led the Blue Jays with 15 and 14 points respectively. The duo had 19 combined first half points, but were held to just 10 combined in the 2nd half.
Jaecee Martin led both teams with 7 assists and constantly put pressure on the defense with his quickness and ability to find the open man off pick and rolls and backdoor cuts.
The Blue Jays shot 46.2% overall and 54.2% from behind the arc, but they were held back by their 14 turnovers.
While the Macs scored at least one point on 46% of their possessions, the Blue Jays only scored at least one point on 42% of their possessions. In a game like this the team that is more efficient with their possessions will win the game and that was the case tonight.
The Macs were led by the usual suspects in Ryan Turell and Gabe Leifer. Turell had 22 points on 8-20 shooting while Leifer had 14 points, 11 rebounds, and 6 assists.
Despite dealing with a knee injury, Ofek Reef contributed 12 points and 3 rebounds.
Eitan Halpert had an off night shooting just 2-10, but showed why he is one of the stars of the Macs by making a big 3 pointer and grabbing an offensive rebound that led to a dagger 3 by Gabe Leifer down the stretch of this game.
The Macs shot 44.8% overall and 39.1% from behind the arc.
Up next for the Macs:
The Macs are back in action one week from tonight where they will travel to face Stevens Institute of Technology on Monday, March 8.