(yumacs.com) After trailing late in the game, the Yeshiva University men’s basketball team finished strong to earn a key come-from-behind Skyline Conference road victory over Manhattanville College, 85-81, at Kennedy Gymnasium on Tuesday evening.
The Maccabees (5-3, 3-1 Skyline) were behind, 73-67, with 5:01 to go but then went on a 13-2 run to gain control of the game with an 80-75 advantage with 2:09 left, on their way to the conference victory.
“Very gritty performance,” Yeshiva University Head Coach Elliot Steinmetz said. “We struggled against a very quick and talented Manhattanville team but managed to pull together and make some big shots late.”
Leading the way for the Maccabees was rookie sensation Zevi Samet who scored a game-high 27 points on 9-for-17 shooting from the field, including 5-for-9 from beyond the arc. Senior Matan Zucker notched a double-double with 14 points and just as many rebounds, while dishing out six assists. Rookie standout Roy Itcovichi produced 15 points and six boards. Junior Oren Betesh scored 16 points off the bench and went 4-for-6 from 3-point range.
Yeshiva got off to a hot start as a triple by Samet gave the Maccabees a 19-9 hold, with 11:50 to go in the opening half. The Valiants (4-3, 0-1 Skyline) chipped away and cut their deficit to four, 23-19, with 8:16 to go. Betesh gave YU its momentum back by draining a 3-point field goal to put his team back up by seven.
Later in the half, Yeshiva scored 10 unanswered points to equal its largest lead of the evening, 42-26, with 2:31 to go before the break. Triples by junior Adi Markovich and senior Gabriel Landau highlighted Yeshiva’s 10-point blitz. After Manhattanville scored the next basket, Samet connected on a jumper to put YU back up by 16, at 44-28, with 1:53 remaining.
The Valiants finished the first half on a 9-0 run to cut the Macs’ lead to seven after 20 minutes of play.
Manhattanville’s momentum carried over into the second half, as the Valiants outscored the Maccabees, 14-3 during the first 4:12 of the stanza, to take a 51-47 advantage. Yeshiva played catch up for the majority of the second half.
With 5:32 remaining in regulation time, graduate student Jake Dunn of Manhattanville buried a 3-point basket to equal the Valiants’ largest lead of the game, at 71-64.
From that point on, Yeshiva took over the game as a 3-point bucket from Samet pulled YU to within four. After Manhattanville scored the next two points, Yeshiva had back-to-back successful and-one plays courtesy of Itcovichi and Zucker that allowed YU to tie the game, at 73, with 4:02 to go.
After each team exchanged baskets, Zucker found Betesh who drained a clutch triple to give the Maccabees a 78-75 edge with 2:45 to go. YU’s defense forced a stop and then Itcovichi nailed a jumper to put YU up by five with 2:09 remaining.
With 41 seconds to go, and Yeshiva up by four, Samet drained a deep 3-point basket to inflate YU’s cushion to 83-76. Manhattanville scored the next five points to pull to within two with 12 ticks left on the clock. Samet was fouled intentionally and was sent to the free throw line with four seconds remaining. He connected on the two key free throw attempts to make it a two-possession game which clinched the win for the Maccabees.
For Yeshiva, Markovich had six points. Rookie Dothan Bardichev produced four points, three rebounds and two assists. First-year player Daniel Margusov had three rebounds, while fellow rookie Jacob Rodin had a board of his own.