NOTE — Yeshiva’s Tuesday night win earned them a berth in the semifinals, where they faced the second-seeded Manhattanville College Valiants in a rematch of last year’s conference championships, which Yeshiva won. The rematch took place on Thursday at at 5 p.m., after press time for The Jewish Link. Read on for highlights of Tuesday’s game.
The No. 3-seed Yeshiva University men’s basketball team earned a key victory on Tuesday night as the Maccabees triumphed over the sixth-seeded St. Joseph’s University Golden Eagles, 67-58, in a Skyline Conference Quarterfinal showdown at Max Stern Athletic Center.
During the quarterfinal game, Yeshiva found themselves in a familiar spot entering the half down 28-20. Less than two weeks ago, the Macs entered halftime down 27-20 against the same squad from Long Island. In that game on Feb. 8, the Macs rode an explosive second half to a resounding victory.
Yeshiva responded accordingly right out of the gate, in the quarterfinal contest on Tuesday evening, going on an electric 13-3 run to open the second half. Once the Maccabees made it close, they traded blows with the Golden Eagles (12-12) as each team danced with slim leads in a back-and-forth outing. YU was building momentum and looking to pull away, leading 46-45 with 7:30 left.
After two straight missed shots and offensive rebounds by YU, the Yeshiva faithful were on the edges of their seats waiting to release their uproar. In need of a big moment, senior forward Matan Zucker delivered a huge layup, while getting fouled in the process, to give the Blue and White a 48-45 advantage with 7:32 left to play in regulation time.
With the game tied at 48, junior guard Oren Betesh and sophomore guard Max Zakheim drained back-to-back triples to give the Maccabees the lead for good, at 54-48, with 6:33 to go, much to the delight of the raucous Max Stern Athletic Center crowd. Yeshiva inflated its cushion to as many as 10. The Macs held a comfortable lead till the clock hit zero and they emerged victorious yet again, showing the group’s adversity.
Zucker made his presence known with a double-double, racking up 13 rebounds and 10 points, while producing three assists and just as many steals.
“Gritty second half with good defensive energy,” Yeshiva University Head Coach Elliot Steinmetz said. “Proud of our guys for stepping up. Big win for our young group.”
Speed Kills: A big reason for the Macs’ strong second half was their fast break points. The Macs only mustered two fast break points in the first half but utilized steals and fast play to tally 18 fast break points in the second half.
Sharing the love: The Macs had four players with double-digit points. Sophomore guard Zevi Samet led the group with 19, followed by Zakheim and Betesh with 14 apiece, in addition to Zucker’s 10 points.
Samet also produced six rebounds, forced four steals, dished out a pair of assists and blocked a shot. Betesh shot 4-for-8 from beyond the arc, delivered five assists, grabbed three boards and blocked one shot. Zakheim generated six rebounds and a pair of steals, while freshman forward Roy Itcovichi tallied seven points, a pair of rebounds and just as many assists.
By Andrew Jacobson/yumacs.com