By: Chana Weinberg | News  | 

Men’s Basketball to Play Old Westbury in Conference Semi-Final

After securing the No. 2 seed with their 18-6 season, the men’s basketball team will host SUNY Old Westbury in the Skyline Conference Semi-Finals on Friday, Feb. 22, at 12 p.m. YU had two decisive victories over Old Westbury during the regular season: the first by 28 points (Jan. 22) and the second by 20 points (Feb. 5).

A highlight of the season was a 17-game win streak which ended on Saturday evening, Feb. 1, with an 80-78 defeat at the hands of Farmingdale State College at the Max Stern Athletic Center (MSAC). This streak, which started with a win against Mount Saint Vincent on Dec. 1, is the longest in program history, surpassing the eight-game streak established in the 2017-2018 season.

“[The] historic win streak [was] a testament to how hard these young men work at practice and the selflessness they show on the court,” stated Athletics Director Joe Bednarsh.

Additionally, Bednarsh acknowledged the “amazing work” that the team’s coaching staff, led by Head Coach Elliot Steinmetz, has done this season.

During the streak, the team shot 53.6 percent from the field while inducing an average eight steals per game.

“We try to bring the same energy, defense and toughness night in and night out,” said junior guard and team leader in 3-point percentage (44 percent) Simcha Halpert of his team’s efforts during the streak.

When asked about how they were able to keep up their energy, even in games when they were ahead by 10 or 15 points, the players returned to the same refrain — comradery.

“We’re a family,” said Senior Captain Tal Gweta. “We focus on defense first, always competing — play-by-play. Executing 100 percent.”

“I love being part of a team that cares about each other like this one does,” said freshman forward Ryan Turell, the team’s leading scorer.

At the start of the season, Coach Steinmetz told The Commentator that his team “need[s] to take better care of [the ball].” Even with this goal, the team is averaging one more turnover per game, at 16.5 compared to last year’s 15.5. But where they have regressed in ball control, they have largely increased in their scoring, averaging 84.6 points-per-game and shooting 52 percent from the field, compared to last year’s 77.1 and 47 percent, respectively.

Even after back-to-back buzzer beater losses, the team appears to be confident heading into the last game of the season and the playoffs.

“We can’t be satisfied with what we have already accomplished,” said Turell. “We are all hungry to do more than any other YU team in history.”


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