FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – The Yeshiva University men's basketball team earned a key Skyline Conference victory over Farmingdale State College, 88-83, at the Nold Hall Athletic Complex on Tuesday evening. Yeshiva has now won five consecutive conference contests to advance to 6-5 for the season and 6-2 in Skyline contests, while Farmingdale drops to 7-3 overall and 5-1 in Skyline play.
"Just a good toughness test for us against a really good team on the road," Yeshiva University head coach Elliot Steinmetz said. "Good solid team win."
Yeshiva shot 53.7 percent from the field and 44 percent from 3-point range.
Leading the way for the Maccabees was freshman guard Ryan Turell, who led all players with 24 points, while grabbing four rebounds, distributing just as many assists, and blocking two shots. Junior forward Gabriel Leifer just missed a double-double with 21 points and nine rebounds. The Lawrence native also distributed five assists, blocked four shots, and forced three steals. Junior guard Simcha Halpert produced 17 points, while grabbing three rebounds and dishing out four assists. Senior forward Tal Gweta had 14 points to go along with six boards.
In the middle stages of the opening half, Yeshiva scored seven unanswered points to take a 23-14 lead with 11:25 remaining. Gweta capped off the run with a layup off a feed by sophomore guard Eitan Halpert. After the Rams rallied to pull to within four, junior forward Daniel Katz found Gweta, who drained a 3-point field goal to increase YU's lead to 28-21 with 7:44 to go.
Farmingdale State chipped away and narrowed Yeshiva's lead to 34-33. Simcha Halpert and Leifer combined for back-to-back layups to increase the Blue and White's lead to 38-33, with 2:18 left until the break.
With Yeshiva up, 41-35, in the closing seconds of the period, Gweta received a pass at the top of the key and then quickly threw it to Simcha Halpert, who drained a 3-pointer from the corner as the buzzer sounded, making the score 44-35 in favor of YU at the half.
The Rams scored the first seven points of the second period to pull to within two. The Maccabees interrupted the home team's momentum, as Leifer threw across to Turell, who launched a 3-point field goal to put the Macs back up by five.
Later in the half, a pair of free throws by sophomore guard Joseph Santoro narrowed YU's lead to one, at 67-66, with 7:15 left to play in regulation time. Simcha Halpert answered with a successful 3-point shot, off a feed by senior forward Michael Hayon, to extend YU's lead to 70-66 with 6:51 remaining. Farmingdale shifted momentum into its favor by scoring eight out of the game's next 10 points to grab a 74-72 advantage with 4:22 remaining in the second half.
Yeshiva countered with six straight points to take a four-point lead. Leifer's layup began the run and tied the game. On Yeshiva's next offensive possession, Leifer played the role of distributor by feeding the ball to Gweta, who successfully converted a layup to give YU the lead once again. Leifer would strike again, this time on the defensive end, as he forced a steal and threw an outlet pass to Turell, who dribbled down the court and dunked the ball into the net, to extend YU's lead to 78-74 with 2:39 remaining.
With less than a minute remaining, and Yeshiva up by three, Leifer attacked the paint and successfully converted a layup to make it a two-possession game, at 84-79, with 32 ticks left on the clock. After the home team pulled to within three, Turell was fouled intentionally with 18 seconds to go. He hit both shots from the charity stripe to give the Macs more breathing room, at 86-81. After the Rams cut the Maccabees' lead to three, Turell was once again fouled. He converted the two free throws with 11 seconds to go to clinch the game for YU. Yeshiva went on to win the key conference tilt, 88-83.
For the game, Katz added nine points with four rebounds, just as many assists, and a pair of steals. Hayon chipped in with two points, while Eitan Halpert had a point and a board. Freshman guard Jeffrey Owen grabbed two caroms, while junior forward Kevin Bokor added a rebound of his own.
Simcha Halpert has now scored 1,040 points in his career, passing Shelby Rosenberg ('16) for 27th on the program's all-time scoring list.
The Maccabees will return to the friendly confines of the Max Stern Athletic Center, on Thursday, for a Skyline Conference matchup against the United States Merchant Marine Academy. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:00 p.m.