Yeshiva Rallies but Falls Short to Old Westbury

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NEW YORK, N.Y. – The Yeshiva University men's basketball team fell short to the College at Old Westbury, 70-68, in a Skyline Conference contest at the Max Stern Athletic Center on Tuesday evening. The Panthers advance their record to 6-6 in Skyline play (7-10 overall), while the Maccabees drop to 4-6 in conference contests (6-9 overall).

Yeshiva trailed by nine with just 1:04 remaining, but scored the final seven points of the game. The Maccabees had a chance to win it in the final seconds, but sophomore guard Simcha Halpert's 3-point attempt rattled in and out, allowing the Panthers to escape with the win.

The home team was led by Halpert, who scored a game-high 23 points, while bringing down eight rebounds, and dishing out a game-best six assists. Making his season debut, senior forward Eli Mamann scored 16 points, shooting 5-for-7 from the field and 3-for-5 from beyond the arc. Sophomore forward Gabriel Leifer had a strong performance in his collegiate basketball debut, producing 10 points, while grabbing eight rebounds, distributing four assists, and forcing three steals.

After Yeshiva fell behind, 17-13, the home team went on a 14-4 run to take a 27-21 advantage with 4:13 remaining in the opening period. Mamann, Leifer, and Halpert each drained a shot from beyond the 3-point line during the run. Later in the period, Mamann successfully laid the ball up and in off a feed by junior forward Tal Gweta, to make it 32-28 in favor of Yeshiva, with 1:11 remaining until the half. However, Old Westbury scored the last four points of the period to send both teams in the locker rooms tied at 32.

After Old Westbury scored the first five points of the second half, the Maccabees heated up from beyond the 3-point line, as Leifer, Halpert, and Gweta each converted shots from beyond the arc to ignite a 9-2 run for Yeshiva and put the home team up, 41-39. After Old Westbury regained the lead, sophomore forward Daniel Katz fed the ball to Halpert, who laid the ball up and in, to put Yeshiva back on top, 43-42, with 16:02 remaining in regulation time. However, a layup by Alan McDonald gave the Panthers the lead again, with 14:54 remaining.

Later in the second half, Halpert received a feed from Katz and successfully attacked the paint by laying the ball up and in to tie the game, 56-56. A couple of minutes later, Leifer forced a steal and sprinted down the court, laying the ball up and in off a fast break, to give Yeshiva a 58-56 advantage with 6:23 to go in regulation. On the next possession, David Rodriguez countered with a 3-point field goal to put Old Westbury up for good, 59-58.

The Panthers would eventually increase their lead to nine, at 70-61, with 1:04 left to play. However, the Maccabees had one more rally in them. Mamann began Yeshiva's late surge by nailing a 3-point shot to narrow Old Westbury's lead to 70-64, with 54 ticks left on the clock.

The Panthers could not capitalize from the charity stripe on a one-and-one opportunity, allowing the Maccabees an opportunity to pull closer. With 10 seconds to go, Mamann drained a 3-point basket to pull the home team to within two, at 70-68. McDonald was fouled intentionally and went to the line with seven seconds to go. He missed the free throw on a one-and-one and Katz grabbed the rebound.

Yeshiva had a chance to either tie the game or win it, with three seconds to go. After a 30-second timeout, Katz inbounded the ball to Leifer in the front court. Leifer then kicked it out to Halpert who put up a three-point shot, but the ball rattled in and out of the rim at the buzzer and Old Westbury went on to earn the hard-fought Skyline win.

For the game, Yeshiva's bench outscored the opposition, 23-7. Old Westbury had the slight edge in rebounds, 35-33, but dominated in the paint, outscoring Yeshiva 30-20. Brandon Thomas and McDonald each scored 17 points with seven rebounds for the Panthers, while Yancy Ulysse added 13 points, with eight boards, and five assists.

Yeshiva will travel to Throggs Neck on Thursday, for a Skyline game at Maritime College. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:00 p.m., at Riesenberg Gymnasium.