By: Rivka Bennun  | 

Macs Win 2022 Skyline Conference Championship

The Macs won the Skyline Conference Championship game on Sunday, Feb. 27, beating the Manhattanville College Valiants by a score of 74-40. This victory has earned the Macs an automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Tournament.

The Macs have played in four straight championships since 2018 and won three of them; this is their second consecutive championship win. 

The game started off strong with Eitan Halpert (SSSB ‘21) scoring nine points for the Macs. By the end of the first half, the Macs were leading with a score of 25-16 as the Valiants kept a strong defense. Halpert scored a three-pointer in the opening of the second half, opening up a 40-18 lead for the Macs. With eleven minutes left, Gabe Leifer (SSSB ‘21) set up an alley-oop with Ryan Turell (SSSB ‘22), raising the score by 23 points. Additionally, Oren Betesh hit three three-pointers throughout the game, and Ryan Bokor (SSSB ‘23) hit a turnaround jumper in the last 38 seconds of the game. 

President Ari Berman opened the game with a prayer for the welfare of Ukraine. Famous basketball players Amar’e Stoudemire (now known as Yahoshafat) and Enes Kanter Freedom attended the game. At the Macs’ semifinals game on the Thursday prior, New England Patriots Owner Robert Kraft was invited by the President’s Office and honored by Berman at the game.

Following their loss to the Illinois-Wesleyan Titans on Dec. 30, which snapped their 50-game win streak, the Macs won four straight games but then fell into a slump again, losing to Farmingdale State College, barely surviving against Old Westbury and then losing again to St. Joseph’s Long Island. After this loss, they were victorious in the following six games they played, including the undefeated University of Saint Joseph Blue Jays, which at the time was undefeated and ranked No. 5 in the country. 

Matan Zucker (YC ‘23) was named “Most Outstanding Player” of the Skyline Conference Championship. Zucker contributed to the win by “scoring 10 points, grabbing seven rebounds, dishing out a pair of assists, and forcing two steals,” according to d3hoops. 

“This was a great accomplishment for our team,” Zucker told d3hoops. “It’s the first box we can check off of our ultimate goal. The Most Outstanding Player goes to my coaches and teammates for trusting in me.” 

On Monday afternoon, the NCAA released its Division III men’s basketball bracket, announcing that the Macs, currently ranked No. 19 on d3hoops, will be playing the No. 10 Johns Hopkins Blue Jays in the NCAA Tournament’s opening round. The game will take place at Stockton University in Galloway, NJ, on Friday afternoon, March 4. This will be the team’s third national tournament ever played. 

Photo Caption: The Macs won the Skyline Conference Championship for the second year in a row.

Photo Credit: YU Athletics