No. 2 Yeshiva Falls to No. 1 Farmingdale State in Skyline Championship Game

More news about: Yeshiva

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – The No. 2 Yeshiva University men's basketball team suffered a hard-fought loss in the Skyline Conference championship game to No. 1 Farmingdale State College, 81-75, at the Nold Hall Athletic Complex on Sunday afternoon. The Rams (20-7) have earned their second conference title in the last three years and earn an automatic bid into the upcoming NCAA Division III men's basketball tournament. The Maccabees conclude the season with a 19-8 record.

The key in the game was Farmingdale's 12-1 run in the late stages of the second half to take control of the game.

Senior guard Matthew Graham was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Skyline Conference championships. In the championship game, he scored 25 points, grabbed seven rebounds, and dished out five assists.

Farmingdale shot 54.1 percent from the field, while Yeshiva was held to just 42.6 percent shooting from the floor.

Leading the way for the Maccabees was junior forward Gabriel Leifer, who produced a double-double with 27 points and 15 rebounds, both game-highs, while leading all players with eight assists and adding two blocked shots. Freshman guard Ryan Turell netted 20 points with six rebounds. Junior guard Simcha Halpert added 14 points and grabbed six caroms. Halpert has now scored 1,345 career points which ranks him No. 8 on Yeshiva's all-time scoring list. 

The Maccabees got off to a strong start in the game as a 3-point field goal by Leifer gave YU an 18-10 advantage, 6:50 into the contest. After the Rams pulled to within two, Leifer threw a backdoor pass to senior forward Tal Gweta, who converted a layup to temporarily halt Farmingdale's momentum. Later in the half, Turell drained a pair of shots from the charity strip to increase the Blue and White's lead to 28-25, with 2:04 remaining in the period. Farmingdale State responded with a run, scoring five unanswered points to go up, 30-28, with 22 ticks on the clock, Leifer received a feed from Turell and successfully executed a layup to even the game, 32-32. With the opening half winding down, Graham nailed a jump shot to send the Rams into the intermission up, 34-32.

Yeshiva got off to a slow start in the second half, as the Rams' defense held the Maccabees scoreless for the first 3:19 of the period and padded their lead to 41-32. Junior forward Daniel Katz ended Yeshiva's scoring drought by converting a layup, while being fouled. That sparked a 9-0 run by the Maccabees, as Katz' 3-point field goal tied the game, 41-41, with 14:00 to go. Farmingdale answered with a 6-2 run to go up by four.

Yeshiva came storming back as a 3-point field goal by Halpert propelled Yeshiva to a one-point lead, at 48-47, with 10:54 to go. After Yeshiva fell behind by one, Leifer provided a successful shot from beyond the arc to push Yeshiva ahead, 51-49. Later in the period, with Yeshiva down by two, Katz fed the ball to Halpert, who drained a 3-point shot while being fouled. He added the free throw to complete a four-point play to put YU up, 55-53, with 8:07 to go.

However, Farmingdale State would take over the game by scoring 12 of the game's next 13 points to grab a 65-56 hold with 5:32 remaining in regulation time. Yeshiva did manage to pull to within five on a couple of occasions down the stretch, but Farmingdale kept countering with mini-runs to prevent the Macs from getting closer. Turell closed out the game with a 3-point basket at the buzzer, but it was not enough, as Farmingdale clinched the Skyline championship by winning the game, 81-75.

For the Maccabees, Katz produced eight points and dished out six assists. Senior forward Michael Hayon scored two points while grabbing a rebound. Gweta added four points.

For the Rams, senior forward George Riefenstahl had a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Classmate Ali Mableton netted 14 points with four assists, while junior forward Jermaine Fraser scored 12 points with six rebounds.

The Yeshiva University men's basketball team will return in 2019-20.