The Yeshiva University men’s basketball team earned a crucial Skyline Conference victory over Purchase College, 79-77, at the Purchase College Gymnasium on Sunday afternoon. With the victory, the Maccabees advance their conference record to 6-2, and 10-6 overall, while the Panthers fall to 6-4 in the Skyline, and 12-6 overall.
Sophomore guard Judah Cohen led all players with 23 points, while grabbing six rebounds and dishing out two assists.
With one second remaining, the Maccabees held a 79-76 lead, but the Panthers drew a foul and went to the line. Brian Berrios made the first free throw to narrow Yeshiva’s lead to two. He intentionally missed the second free throw, but the ball went out of bounds, and YU earned a key road conference win.
In the first half, the Maccabees got off to a sluggish start as the Panthers led by as many as seven. Yeshiva finished the period strong by going on a 10-4 run, capped off by a three-point field goal from senior forward Eli Mamann, to pull the visiting team to within one, at 37-36. That would be the score at intermission.
Cohen opened up the second half by laying the ball up and in, to give the Macs a one point lead. After Purchase regained the advantage, Yeshiva shifted momentum into its favor by scoring 12 unanswered points to take a commanding lead, 50-39, with 16:16 left in regulation. Highlighted in that run were three field goals by freshman guard Simcha Halpert. One of his field goals was from downtown. In that rally, senior forward Michael Berg converted a layup while being fouled. He hit the free throw to complete the traditional three-point play.
YU led by as many as 13 in the second half, but Purchase rallied to pull within four, at 77-73, with 41 seconds left. Senior forward Dean Pienica received a feed from classmate Jordan Hod and converted a timely layup to put his team up by six, at 79-73, with 18 seconds left.
The Panthers got the ball back, down 79-76, with nine seconds left and a chance to tie. A three-point attempt by Purchase fell short, but Berrios grabbed an offensive rebound and was fouled with one second left. That led to him making the first free throw, but intentionally missing the second. Yeshiva was able to prevent the opposition from getting a clean rebound, and as a result, the Maccabees earned an important Skyline Conference win.
For the game, Halpert added 13 points with seven rebounds, two blocks and a steal. Pienica added 12 points with five rebounds and four assists. Berg had 11 points, eight rebounds and a game-high seven assists, while Hod had nine points, six rebounds, three assists and just as many steals.