#4 Yeshiva Knocks Off #1 Farmingdale State in Overtime; Will Play in Skyline Conference Championship Game for First Time in Program History

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FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – The #4 Yeshiva University men's basketball team made history on Thursday evening at the Nold Hall Athletic Complex, as the Maccabees knocked off the defending Skyline Conference champion and No.1 seed Farmingdale State, 77-75, in the conference semi-final. As a result, Yeshiva will be playing in the Skyline championship game for the first time in program history. The Maccabees will play #2 Purchase College, at the Purchase College Gymnasium, on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. The Panthers defeated #3 Mount Saint Vincent, in the other Skyline semi-final on Thursday.

The win is Yeshiva's 17th of the season, which sets a program record. Yeshiva advances to 17-10 overall.

"Literally at a loss for words," Yeshiva University head coach Elliot Steinmetz said. "These kids have so much heart. They're amazing to be around."

The Maccabees led by as many as 19, but Farmingdale (18-8) rallied late in the second half. Liam Monaghan hit a 3-pointer with 13 seconds left to tie the game and send it to overtime. The Maccabees were able to bounce back and outscore the defending Skyline champions, 8-6, in the extra session to clinch a spot in the championship game.

Leading the way for Yeshiva was sophomore guard Simcha Halpert, who produced 18 points with four rebounds. He made history as his 3-point field goal with 12:12 remaining in the opening half set a new program record for points in a single-season. Eli Hami previously held the record, scoring 548 points in the 2002-03 season. Halpert currently has 562 points so far this year.

Sophomore forward Gabriel Leifer produced a double-double with a game-high 20 points and a team-high 15 rebounds, while forcing five steals. Sophomore forward Bar Alluf produced 16 points, grabbed four boards, and dished out just as many assists. Classmate Daniel Katz scored 12 points, brought down three boards, and distributed four assists, while sophomore guard Tyler Hod rounded out the balanced scoring with nine points, while grabbing seven caroms, and dishing out four assists.

The Maccabees fell behind early, but answered with a 7-1 run, capped off by a jump shot from Halpert to propel YU to a 12-10 lead with 13:19 remaining in the opening period. Later in the half, a 3-point field goal by Katz capped off a 7-0 run by the Maccabees, giving the visiting team a 27-16 advantage with 5:25 left in the first half. After the Rams scored a basket, a pair of free throws by Katz sparked a 12-2 run for the Maccabees. Leifer capped off the run by laying the ball up and in, while being fouled. He hit the free throw to complete the traditional 3-point play and give YU its largest lead of the game, 39-20, with 2:24 remaining in the opening half.

After FSC pulled to within 16, Tyler Hod answered with a successful shot from beyond the arc, to regain a 19-point lead for the Maccabees. A layup by Matthew Graham shrunk YU's advantage back to 17, at 42-25, with 1:06 left to play. Both teams were held scoreless for the remainder of the half as YU went into the locker room up by a score of 42-25.

In the second stanza, a layup by Leifer allowed Yeshiva to regain its 19-point lead, just over a minute in. Farmingdale would not go down without a fight, as a layup by Graham capped off an 11-4 run by the Rams to cut Yeshiva's lead to 50-38, with 14:26 left to play in regulation time. Alluf would stop the home team's momentum by draining a 3-point field goal to put YU back up by 15.

After Farmingdale State cut it to 11, Halpert answered with a timely 3-pointer to extend the Macs' lead to 56-42, with 11:12 remaining in the second half. Farmingdale would slowly chip away at Yeshiva's lead throughout the remainder of the period. Down by eight, the Rams scored five unanswered points, capped off by a layup from Ali Mableton to make it a one possession game, at 64-61, with 3:31 to go.

With 1:04 remaining in regulation, Tyler Hod kicked it out to Leifer, who drained a timely 3-point field goal to extend YU's lead to 69-63. After FSC missed a shot, George Riefenstahl grabbed the offensive rebound and successfully converted on the put-back, while being fouled. He hit the shot from the charity stripe to once again make it a one possession game, with 55 ticks left on the clock.

After Yeshiva was held scoreless on the next possession, Farmingdale State had one more chance to tie it. With 13 seconds remaining, Monaghan took a feed from Graham and drilled a game-tying 3-pointer, knotting the game, 69-69. Alluf launched a desperation 3-point attempt in the closing seconds, but could not convert so the game needed overtime to decide the winner.

A pair of free throws by Graham gave Farmingdale a two-point lead less than a minute into the extra session. On the next possession, Halpert drew a foul, while attempting a 3-point field goal. He hit all three of his shots from the charity stripe to propel Yeshiva to a narrow 72-71 lead. On Farmingdale's next possession, Leifer forced a steal and found Alluf, who nailed a jumper to extend the Maccabees' advantage to 74-71 with 3:29 remaining in the first overtime period.

Three successful free throw attempts over two possessions by Farmingdale State evened up the game, 74-74, with 2:31 to go. Yeshiva would strike back on the next possession, as Tyler Hod drained a clutch 3-pointer to give YU the lead, with 2:05 left in overtime. Monaghan successfully shot one out of two free throws to shrink YU's lead to 77-75, with 1:06 remaining.

Yeshiva could not extend the lead on its next possession. Farmingdale regained control of the ball with 17 seconds remaining and a chance to once again tie the contest. In the closing seconds, Graham attempted a 3-pointer but it rimmed off. Monaghan grabbed the offensive rebound and sprinted with the ball from the paint to beyond the arc on the far side. He launched a desperation 3-pointer that went off the rim and out of bounds, as the buzzer sounded, clinching the win for Yeshiva and a berth in the program's first championship game.

For the Maccabees, sophomore forward Kevin Bokor scored two points, while junior guard Justin Hod distributed an assist.

For Farmingdale State, Riefenstahl produced a double-double with 16 points and a game-high 20 rebounds. Graham added a team-high 17 points with three assists, while Mableton produced 14 points with four assists.

Information regarding fan buses to the Skyline championship game at Purchase College, from both campuses, will be announced on Friday morning. The #4 Maccabees will battle the #2 Panthers of Purchase College on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. The team that wins the championship will earn an automatic bid into the NCAA Division III men's basketball tournament.