Yeshiva Grinds Out Season-Opening Win Over College of Staten Island

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NEW YORK, N.Y. – The Yeshiva University men's basketball team opened the 2017-18 season with a hard-earned win over the defending CUNYAC champion College of Staten Island, 86-75, at the Max Stern Athletic Center on Wednesday evening. The Maccabees now start the year off 1-0, while the Dolphins fall to 0-1.

After Yeshiva had a close lead for the majority of the game, CSI grabbed its first lead of the contest, 50-48, with 14:17 remaining in regulation. From that point on, YU took over by going on a 19-5 run, in a span of 4:11, to take a commanding 67-55 advantage, and never looked back.

"Loved our effort and selflessness as a team," Yeshiva University head coach Elliot Steinmetz said. "Great win against a tough team."

Leading the way for the Maccabees was sophomore guard Simcha Halpert, who led all players with 24 points, and shot 8-13 from the field. He also grabbed seven boards, dished out five assists, blocked a shot, and forced a steal. Classmate Bar Alluf added a career-high 21 points, while adding five assists, five rebounds, three steals, and a block. He went 8-11 from the field. Sophomore forward Daniel Katz just missed a double-double, as he scored nine points and grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds. He also dished out a team-high six assists.

Yeshiva came storming out of the gate, as a three-point field goal by junior forward Tal Gweta put the Maccabees up, 10-0, just 3:20 into the contest. Later in the half, Alluf took a feed from junior guard Justin Hodand scored on a fast break to extend YU's lead to 18-9.

Junior forward Michael Hayon found a wide-open Halpert, who drained a 3-pointer, to give Yeshiva a 25-16 advantage with 8:38 remaining in the opening half. The Dolphins responded by going on a 13-6 run to pull to within two, at 31-29. A shot from beyond the arc by Halpert helped the Maccabees regain a five-point lead, at 34-29, with 2:27 remaining in the half. After CSI pulled to within one, Alluf drained a shot from downtown to make it 37-33 in favor of Yeshiva. Both teams went into the intermission with the score 39-35 in favor of YU.

In the second half, sophomore Kevin Kevin Bokor hit a pair of free throws to extend the Maccabees' lead to 48-44. The Dolphins shifted momentum into their favor by scoring six unanswered points to take their first lead of the game, 50-48, with 14:17 left to play in regulation time.

With the College of Staten Island up 53-52, Hayon converted on back-to-back layups to give the Macs a three-point advantage. On the next possession, he forced a steal and passed the ball to Alluf, who found Halpert for an uncontested 3-point field goal to give the home team a six-point cushion with 10:22 left. After the Dolphins pulled to within four, Hayon received the pass from Alluf and laid the ball up and in, while being fouled. He hit the free throw to complete the three-point play, and give YU a 62-55 advantage.

With 8:40 remaining, Halpert nailed yet another 3-point field goal to give Yeshiva its largest lead of the evening, at 67-55. CSI countered with an 8-0 run to pull to within four. With less than five minutes remaining, Alluf helped the Maccabees regain control of the contest, by taking a feed from Gweta and nailing a shot from beyond the arc, to extend the home team's lead to 73-64.

Staten Island did manage to pull to within five, at 77-72, with 1:39 remaining, but Yeshiva was able to hit its free throws down the stretch to clinch the game. YU went on to earn the season-opening win, 86-75.

For the game, Hayon scored nine points, grabbed eight rebounds, dished out three assists, blocked two shots, and forced a steal. Gweta added eight points with five boards, while Bokor and sophomore guard Tyler Hodeach scored six points. The former blocked a shot and forced a steal, while the latter dished out two assists and brought down a rebound. Justin Hod scored three points, grabbed a board, and added an assist, while Bokor blocked a shot and forced a steal.

Yeshiva will be back in action on Saturday night, for a non-conference matchup against Baruch College. Tip-off at the ARC arena is scheduled for 8:30 p.m.