No. 20 Men's Basketball Captures Second Straight Skyline Championship; Will Compete in NCAA Tourname
NEW YORK – The nationally ranked No. 20 Yeshiva University men's basketball team earned its second consecutive Skyline Conference Championship, on Sunday afternoon, thanks to a 74-40 victory over Manhattanville College at Max Stern Athletic Center. YU now earns an automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Tournament, which will begin next weekend. The NCAA Selection Show will take place on Monday, at 12:30 p.m., at NCAA.com.
Junior Matan Zucker was named Most Outstanding Player of the Skyline Conference Championships. He helped the Maccabees clinch their third league championship in the last four years by scoring 10 points, grabbing seven rebounds, dishing out a pair of assists, and forcing two steals.
"This was a great accomplishment for our team," Zucker said. "It's the first box we can check off of our ultimate goal. The Most Outstanding Player goes to my coaches and teammates for trusting in me."
Yeshiva (25-3) led the game from wire-to-wire. The Valiants (17-9) kept the game close throughout the first half, but the Maccabees opened up the second half on a 15-2 run to take a commanding lead they would never surrender and put the game out of reach for Manhattanville.
The Mac's defense held the opposition to just 30.4% shooting from the field and 25.0% from 3-point range. YU converted 86.7% of its shot attempts from the charity stripe, while shooting 44.4% from the floor and 42.9% from deep.
"Nobody knows what goes on in practice or in a locker room throughout the course of a season," Yeshiva University Head Coach Elliot Steinmetz said. "What guys battle with, what a team goes through. So proud of our guys for ignoring the noise and just playing for each other. Happy to see them succeed."
Senior Ryan Turell led all players with 16 points, while grabbing eight rebounds. Classmate Eitan Halpert drained four triples, and added a pair of free throws, for 14 points. The Los Angeles native also forced two steals. Junior Ofek Reef had a productive game with 12 points, three rebounds, just as many assists, and three steals. Sophomore Oren Betesh went 3-for-3 from beyond the arc. Graduate student Gabriel Leifer tied a game-high with eight rebounds, while leading all players with five assists, blocking two shots, forcing just as many steals, and scoring three points.
Less than 10 minutes into the game, Halpert drained a 3-point shot to give the Maccabees a 17-6 advantage. However, Manhattanville scored the next six points, capped off by a jump shot from junior Tommy Lotito, to deflate Yeshiva's cushion to five with 7:04 remaining in the opening stanza. Later in the period, Turell connected on a jumper to increase Yeshiva's benefit to nine, at 23-14, with 2:27 to go until the break. Each team exchanged jumpers during the remainder of the stanza as YU took a 25-16 lead into the intermission.
The Maccabees came storming out of the gate in the second half, as YU started the period on a 15-2 run to take a commanding 40-18 hold. The highlight of YU's game-alerting blitz was Reef converting a layup, while being fouled, and then adding a free throw to put the home team up by 19 with 15:07 to go. Halpert capped off the run with a 3-point basket to give Yeshiva the 22-point lead. The Macs kept inflating their advantage throughout the majority of the second half, going up by as many as 36 points, on their way to securing their third Skyline Conference Championship, and automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament, in program history.
For Yeshiva, graduate student Ethan Lasko had seven points and three rebounds off the bench. Classmate Jordan Armstrong produced five boards and a pair of assists.
For Manhattanville, junior Ryan Giordano scored a team-high 12 points, brought down four rebounds, and blocked two shots. Senior Petey Galgano brought down eight boards and added four points.
Fans, be sure to check out YUmacs.com, as well as our social media channels, for updates regarding the NCAA Selection Show and Yeshiva's run in the NCAA Tournament