Y.U. wins second-round NCAA D3 tournament win, headed to Sweet 16

The Yeshiva University’s men’s basketball team celebrates after winning the Skyline Conference championship game and qualifying for the the NCAA Division III tournament, March 1, 2020. (Instagram)

Ami Eden

(JTA) — In a dose of spiritual medicine for a community hit by the coronavirus, Yeshiva University’s men’s basketball team continued its record-breaking season with a dominant second-round win in the NCAA Division III Tournament.

The Maccabees notched a 102-83 victory Saturday night over Penn State Harrisburg for Y.U.’s 29th straight win, behind a triple double from senior forward Gabe Leifer (10 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists) and a game-high 30 points from sophomore guard Ryan Turell. The Macs shot 65.1%, including 64.7% from 3-point range.

The game took place in Baltimore at Johns Hopkins University’s 1,100-seat Goldfarb Gym. Due to coronavirus-related concerns in Maryland, spectators were not permitted to attend the game.

The team’s record run comes as Y.U. was forced to cancel all in-person classes at its two Manhattan campuses after one student tested positive for coronavirus. Many of Y.U.’s network of alumni, faculty and supporters live in various New York-area Modern Orthodox communities that have been hit by quarantines and cancellations, as well as several positive tests for the coronavirus.

Y.U. won in the opening round of the tournament in a blowout win against Worcester Polytechnic in a late Friday afternoon game that ended shortly before the start of the Jewish sabbath. The team had minimal time to warm-up for its Saturday night game, which started about two hours after Shabbat ended. On the other side, Penn State Harrisburg was forced to play just a day after its double-overtime upset over Johns Hokpins.

This year marks only the second time Y.U.’s basketball team has qualified for the NCAA tournament. In their first trip, in 2018, the Maccabees lost in the opening round to York College. This time around, Y.U. has already racked up two tournament wins and is headed to the Sweet Sixteen.

Y.U.’s high-octane motion offense was on display in Baltimore, with the Maccabees racking up 102 points in both of their games and setting up an intriguing third-round match-up against defensive powerhouse Randolph-Macon College, a school located in Ashland, Va. and ranked third in Division III.