(Courtesy of yumacs.com) The top-seeded Yeshiva University men’s basketball team earned a victory in the quarterfinal round of the Skyline Conference championships over No. 8 seed United States Merchant Marine Academy, 75-57, at the Max Stern Athletic Center on Tuesday evening.
The Maccabees will battle the No. 5 seed Rams of Farmingdale State College in the semifinals of the conference tournament, at the Max Stern Athletic Center, on Thursday evening. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. FSC topped the fourth-place College at Old Westbury, 82-71, on Tuesday.
“Thought we defended well on a night we struggled offensively,” Yeshiva University Head Coach Elliot Steinmetz said. “Was good to see guys out there competing and a nice home crowd to support us.”
Leading the way for the nationally ranked No. 15 Maccabees was senior guard Simcha Halpert, who tallied a game-high 20 points, while grabbing four rebounds. Senior forward Gabriel Leifer notched his 21st double-double of the season with 17 points and 13 rebounds, while distributing a game-best seven assists. Sophomore guard Ryan Turell netted 12 points, grabbed three boards, delivered just as many assists and forced two steals. Junior guard Eitan Halpert rounded out the double-digit scorers for Yeshiva with 10 points and had a strong game defensively with four steals.
Yeshiva got off to a slow start as Merchant Marine (10-16) grabbed a 12-11 lead with 12:24 remaining in the opening half. The Maccabees countered with six straight points, highlighted by a slam dunk from rookie guard Ofek Reef, to propel the Blue and White to a 17-12 hold. After the Mariners tallied a basket, Yeshiva went right back on its surge with an 8-0 run. Eitan Halpert concluded the blitz by intercepting a pass and throwing the ball to Turell, who finished with a fast break layup, to extend Yeshiva’s benefit to 25-14 with 4:57 remaining in the half.
The visiting team countered with five unanswered points to shrink YU’s lead to 25-19, but a 3-point field goal by Eitan Halpert began yet another run for the Macs, this time a 9-3 run to put USMMA in a 34-22 hole with 2:02 to go. Simcha Halpert knocked down two 3-point shots in that span. The Maccabees finished the half strong, thanks to a layup by Eitan Halpert with less than a second remaining to give Yeshiva a 38-24 cushion at the break.
The Maccabees came storming out of the gate in the second stanza, scoring six of the first eight points to take a commanding 46-26 hold. Later in the period, Simcha Halpert converted a shot from downtown to inflate Yeshiva’s lead to 52-31 with 13:44 left to play. The Mariners managed to pull to within 15 on a couple of occasions but could not generate a consistent run to get back into the game. Yeshiva managed to build its cushion up to 23, thanks to Eitan Halpert’s 3-point field goal, to put the game out of reach with 2:47 left to play. The Maccabees went on to win the Skyline quarterfinal contest, 75-57.
For the Maccabees, Reef scored nine points and clutched four rebounds, while junior forward Caleb Milobsky produced four points and seven rebounds.
For the Mariners, third-year forward Seth Barnes scored a team-high 15 points, while junior guard James Walsh tallied 12 points and six assists.
All available tickets for the Yeshiva-Farmingdale State semifinal matchup have been sold. However, any unclaimed or unsold tickets will be made available for purchase the night of the game. There is no guarantee that tickets will be available on game night but there will be a viewing party in the Dining Hall for anyone who prefers to see the game that way or is unable to secure a seat.