Yeshiva Earns Impressive Win Over Moravian College

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NEW YORK, N.Y. – The Yeshiva University men's basketball team grinded out a hard-fought victory over Moravian College, 99-94, at the Max Stern Athletic Center on Wednesday evening. Yeshiva (8-5) extends its winning streak to seven games, while snapping Moravian's (7-3) seven-game unbeaten streak.

"Big program win for us against a very strong national opponent," Yeshiva University head coach Elliot Steinmetzsaid. "Proud of the way we competed and stayed strong against great pressure."

The Maccabees were put to the test, as the Greyhounds ran an up-tempo style of play and provided pressure with a full-court press throughout the game. Moravian's blitz caused YU to commit 25 turnovers for the evening, but the Maccabees were able to adjust throughout the game and earn the impressive come-from-behind victory.

Yeshiva shot 61.8 percent from the field, including 56.3 percent from 3-point range. The Macs successfully converted 22 out of 24 shots from the charity stripe.

Leading the way for the Maccabees was junior forward Gabriel Leifer, who produced a double-double with a career-high 33 points and 10 rebounds, while distributing five assists. The Lawrence resident went 13-for-18 from the field, including 2-for-3 from beyond the arc. Freshman guard Ryan Turell added 22 points, on 6-for-11 shooting, brought down five rebounds, and dished out six assists. Junior guard Simcha Halpert produced 20 points, including four 3-point field goals in five attempts, clutched three rebounds, and distributed two dimes. Senior forward Tal Gweta scored 11 points and had five boards.

In the early stages of the first half, Simcha Halpert launched a 3-pointer to give the Maccabees an 18-13 lead. The Greyhounds rallied with a 12-4 run to take a three-point advantage with 9:31 remaining in the half. Later in the period, Simcha Halpert launched another shot from beyond the arc to allow YU to regain the lead, at 32-31, with 6:57 left to play. The Los Angeles native would strike again from 3-point land, on Yeshiva's next offensive possession, to extend the Blue and White's lead to four. With less than a minute remaining in the period, Turell found Leifer who drilled a 3-point field goal to put YU up, 49-43. Both teams went into the half with the home team up, 49-45.

Yeshiva started to pull away in the second stanza, as Leifer's second 3-pointer of the evening gave YU a commanding 59-50 hold with 16:48 remaining in regulation time. However, the Greyhounds chipped away by outscoring the Macs, 21-12, in a span of 6:23 to tie the game, 71-71. Later in the stanza, senior guard Nicholas Casazza nailed a 3-point shot to put the visiting team up, 76-75, with 8:39 remaining.

On Yeshiva's next possession, Leifer converted a layup while being fouled. He drained the free throw to complete the traditional three-point play, and put YU back up by two. Moravian was then issued a team technical foul, allowing Simcha Halpert to convert two shots from the charity stripe to give Yeshiva an 80-76 advantage, with 8:19 left to play. Freshman guard Jeffrey Owen would contribute to Yeshiva's run with a layup and then a 3-point field goal, while Leifer capped off the Macs' 12-0 run with a layup to give the Maccabees an 87-76 lead, with 6:10 left to play in the second half.

YU was not out of the woods yet, as Moravian once again rallied to get the game close. With 54 ticks left in regulation, Casazza capped off the Greyhounds' 9-2 run with a 3-point shot to narrow YU's lead to 93-89. After Owen converted a layup to put Yeshiva back up by six, junior guard C.J. Barnes sliced the home team's lead in half, thanks to a shot from beyond the arc with 15 seconds to go. Turell was fouled intentionally, with 12 seconds remaining. He drained both free throws to make it a two-possession game. After a pair of free throws by Moravian with two seconds to go, Turell was once again fouled with 0.4 left to play. Once again, the rookie phenom connected on both free throws, and that would clinch the win for Yeshiva over the defending Landmark Conference champions.

For the game, Owen scored nine points with five rebounds, while junior forward Daniel Katz brought down just as many boards with three assists. Senior forward Michael Hayon and sophomore guard Eitan Halpert each chipped in with two points, while junior forward Kevin Bokor grabbed a pair of rebounds.

For Moravian, senior forward Oneil Holder scored 30 points to go along with six rebounds, while classmate Jimmy Murray added 23 points. Casazza produced 16 points of his own.

Yeshiva will return to the Max Stern Athletic Center on Thursday, December 27, for a non-conference contest against The City College of New York. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:00 p.m.