Halpert Leads Yeshiva to Comeback Skyline Win Over St. Joseph's Long Island

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NEW YORK, N.Y. – The Yeshiva University men's basketball team earned a key Skyline Conference victory over St. Joseph's College Long Island, 82-76, at the Max Stern Athletic Center on Tuesday evening. Yeshiva advances to 3-2 in Skyline play (4-4 overall), while St. Joseph's falls to 2-2 in conference competition (2-5 overall).

The Maccabees trailed by 15 with 14:47 remaining in regulation time, but went on a 30-8 run in a span of 9:18 to take the lead for good, and win the important conference matchup.

Leading the rally was sophomore guard Simcha Halpert, who scored a game-high 34 points with five rebounds, two steals, a pair of assists, and just as many blocks. He scored 30 of those points in the second half, as Halpert shot 9-for-11 from the field, including 6-for-7 from 3-point range, as well as going 6-for-6 from the charity stripe in the game's final 20 minutes.

"Big win for us," Yeshiva University head coach Elliot Steinmetz said. "It was fun to watch our guys compete with confidence in the second half."

Sophomore forward Bar Alluf was also a key factor for the Maccabees, scoring 18 points, distributing a game-high seven assists, bringing down five caroms, and forcing two steals.

After the Maccabees and Golden Eagles traded baskets throughout the first 7:03 of the contest, St. Joseph's Long Island scored eight unanswered points to go up 18-10, with 12:15 remaining in the period. Yeshiva could not sustain a run of any kind for the remainder of the half, as the visiting team took a 39-27 advantage into the intermission.

The Maccabees showed no signs of a rally in the early stages of the second half, as the Golden Eagles were able to build their lead to 15, at 53-38, with 14:47 remaining in regulation time. A layup by junior guard Tal Gweta narrowed YU's deficit to 13. From that point on, Halpert took over the contest, as he scored the game's next 11 points, over the course of 2:29, to pull the home team to within two. In that stretch, he drilled a 3-pointer, successfully converted a layup, and the hit back-to-back shots from beyond the arc, that narrowed St. Joseph's lead to 53-51, with 11:25 left to play.

Down 55-51, Alluf hit a 3-point shot, while being fouled. He hit the free throw to complete the rare four-point play, pulling the Maccabees even with the Golden Eagles, 55-55, with 9:54 to go. 

Later in the half, Alluf drained another shot from 3-point range to give Yeshiva the lead, 60-59, with 8:24 left to play in regulation. That marked YU's first lead since the 12:58 mark of the opening half. Later in the stanza, sophomore forward Daniel Katz knocked down a pair of free throws to put Yeshiva up by five, 63-58, with 6:38 to go.

After the Golden Eagles pulled to within three, junior forward Michael Hayon and Halpert each scored a two-point field goal on back-to-back YU possessions to extend the Macs' lead to 68-61, with 5:41 remaining. St. Joseph's went on a 7-2 run to narrow the home team's lead to 70-68. Halpert would put the opposition's momentum to a halt, by nailing back-to-back 3-point baskets to put Yeshiva back up by eight, with 2:20 to go.

With the game out of reach for St. Joseph's Long Island, Halpert hit two free throws to extend Yeshiva's lead to 80-74, with 26 ticks left on the clock. On the next possession, Alluf forced a steal and found Gweta, who laid it up and in off a fast break, to all but clinch the key Skyline win for the Maccabees. Yeshiva went on to win, 82-76.

For the game, Gweta and Hayon each scored eight points, with the former blocking a shot and the latter grabbing four rebounds and distributing three assists. Katz had seven points with four rebounds, just as many assists, and three steals. Sophomore guard Tyler Hod nailed a 3-point basket, while grabbing two rebounds, and dishing out a pair of dimes. Sophomore forward Kevin Bokor gave out four assists, scored two points, brought down two offensive boards, and had one steal, while junior guard Justin Hod grabbed a rebound of his own.

The Maccabees will travel to Purchase College on Thursday, for a key Skyline Conference matchup against the Panthers. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.