Men’s Basketball Coasts to its First NCAA Tournament Victory
The YU men’s basketball team won their first-ever tournament game as they dominated the Worcester Polytechnic University (WPI) Engineers by a score of 102-78, bringing Yeshiva to a 28-1 record on the season going into the Round of 32. Yeshiva is set to play the second round at 8:45 p.m. against Penn State-Harrisburg, who defeated host Johns Hopkins on Friday. The winner of the Yeshiva-Penn State Harrisburg Round of 32 matchup will take on nationally ranked No. 3 Randolph-Macon College in the third round next weekend.
WPI could not stop the Macs’ offense as they won their 28th straight game — the longest active streak in NCAA Division III. However, the biggest story of Friday afternoon was sophomore guard Ryan Turell (SSSB ‘22). The Skyline Player of the Year dominated the game on offense from start to finish. Turell scored a career high 41 points on 13-16 shooting from the field, 7-9 from behind the arc and 8 of 10 from the free throw line. During his offensive deluge, Turell also broke the program record for most points scored in a season. The Macs’ relentless offense scored 51 points in each half, as WPI got hot too late in the game to come back.
Starting for the first time since November in place of Bar Alluf (SSSB ‘20), Eitan Halpert (SSSB ‘21) played a strong first half for the Macs, grabbing two steals and scoring 9 points in the half. Eitan, the younger brother of the Macs' second all-time leading scorer Simcha Halpert (SSSB ‘20), finished with 14 points and four rebounds, and tied the team high with eight assists. The older Halpert scored 20 points during the game, spreading the floor to hit two out of four three-pointers and driving to the basket for an overall 6-9 shooting night.
Overall, the Macs shot over 60% from the field and 53% from downtown, an incredible feat. not far from their regular season average of 52% and 40% shooting, respectively. The Engineers shot an impressive 46% from the field, but their slow start and inability to stop the Macs’ offensive deluge put them in a hole from which they could not recover.
Due to a coronavirus outbreak in Maryland, spectators will be barred from attending the second round game as well. On Friday, The Commentator reported that YU's team was turned away from the Doubletree by Hilton Baltimore-North Pikesville hotel on Thursday upon arrival.