NEW YORK, N.Y. – The Yeshiva University men’s basketball team earned a hard-fought victory in the regular season finale over Purchase College, 86-75, at the Max Stern Athletic Center on Saturday evening. Thanks to the victory, the Maccabees now clinch the No. 4 seed in the upcoming Skyline Conference championships and will host No. 5 Mount Saint Mary in the first round on Tuesday evening. This will be the first home playoff game for Yeshiva since 2016, and the second since 2002.
“Just so proud of these guys to come from where we did and earn a home playoff game,” Yeshiva University head coach Elliot Steinmetz said. “We are so young, but growing up so fast. It’s really been fun to watch.”
Despite the loss, Purchase earns a first round bye and will enter the Skyline championships as the No. 2 seed.
Yeshiva (15-10, 13-7 Skyline) got off to a sluggish start, falling behind 31-26. However, the Maccabees responded by scoring eight unanswered points, capped off by back-to-back 3-point field goals by sophomore guard Simcha Halpert and graduating senior Eli Mamann, to give YU a three-point lead with 2:17 remaining until the intermission. In the closing seconds of the opening period, Halpert kicked the ball out to sophomore forward Gabriel Leifer, who nailed the shot from beyond the arc to extend Yeshiva’s lead to 39-35, and that would be the score at the half.
The Maccabees’ momentum from the end of the first half carried over into the second, as a layup by Leifer put Yeshiva up, 45-37, less than two minutes into the stanza. Later in the half, sophomore forward Bar Alluf successfully executed a layup, while being fouled. He nailed the free throw to complete the traditional three-point play, to cap off an 8-1 run by Yeshiva, and put the home team up, 57-46. With 6:50 remaining in regulation time, sophomore guard Tyler Hod found Halpert, who drained a 3-pointer to equal Yeshiva’s largest lead of the game, 73-60. Purchase could not sustain a run to put pressure on Yeshiva, as the Maccabees went on to clinch a home playoff game, thanks to their 86-75 victory.
For the game, Leifer produced a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds, while distributing three assists. Alluf led all players with 23 points, while grabbing six rebounds, passing out three assists, and forcing two steals. Halpert just missed a double-double with 22 points and nine rebounds, while dishing out two assists and forcing a game-high four steals. Mamann drained three 3-point field goals, while fellow graduating senior Ethan Gipsman scored two points and had an assist. Hod produced six points with five assists, while sophomore forward Daniel Katz had four points, with five rebounds, and just as many dimes. Sophomore forward Kevin Bokor had two blocks and an assist, while classmate Michael Bixon forced a steal.
As a team, the Maccabees shot 50.7 percent from the field.
It was senior night, as graduating seniors Gipsman and Mamann were honored with a ceremony prior to the start of the contest.
The No. 4 Yeshiva vs. No. 5 Mount Saint Mary first round matchup will begin at 8:00 p.m., on Tuesday evening. Details will be announced leading up to the evening.