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Men's Basketball Drops Season Opener at No. 6 Yeshiva

Photo taken by Steve McLaughlin - March 1, 2020
Photo taken by Steve McLaughlin - March 1, 2020

NEW YORK, N.Y. - After 351 days between its last competition due to the coronavirus pandemic, the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) was finally back in action, however the USJ men's basketball team fell in its 2020-21 season opener, 78-71, to the No. 6 ranked Yeshiva University Maccabees (YU) Saturday evening on the road inside the Max Stern Athletic Center. The win extends Yeshiva's nation-best winning streak to 34 consecutive games, including a 5-0 start to the 2020-21 season, but the Blue Jays will look for revenge and to snap that streak on Monday evening when the pair of teams meet for a rematch, this time inside the O'Connell Center in USJ's 2020-21 home opener.

Junior guard Tyree Mitchell (East Hartford, Conn.) matched his career-high with 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the floor, including 3-of-6 from three, while senior Jordan Powell (Middletown, Conn.) logged his ninth career double-double with 20 points (7-13 FG) and 11 rebounds to lead the Blue Jays in the opener. Senior Eitan Halpert (Los Angeles, Calif.) and junior Ryan Turell (Los Angeles, Calif.) powered the Maccabees with 20 points each, while senior Gabriel Leifer (Lawrence, N.Y.) was one assist shy of a triple-double finishing with 13 points, 13 boards, and nine assists.

After the Blue Jays rallied to pull within two, 46-44, following a jumper from junior captain Jake Sullivan (Branford, Conn.) with 13:49 remaining in regulation, the Maccabees used a 7-0 run to inflate their lead to 53-44 with 11 minutes to go. Saint Joseph punched back and shrunk YU's lead to four, 60-56, after a pair of Powell free throws with 6:23 left to play, but Yeshiva's clutch shooting in the closing minutes of the contest was too much for the Blue Jays to overcome.

GAME INFORMATION
Score: Saint Joseph 71, Yeshiva 78
Records: USJ (0-1), YU (5-0)
Location: Max Stern Athletic Center | New York, N.Y.

COACH QUOTE [Glen Miller]
"It was great to be back out on the court playing and competing. Although we are disappointed with the loss against an outstanding Yeshiva team, we battled and did some good things throughout the game. These games and exhibitions allow us to play a larger than usual rotation this season and provide the feedback and experience necessary to prepare us for success next fall when we return to a traditional full season. We are looking forward to the rematch with Yeshiva Monday night. With one day of practice to prepare, we will need to focus on improving our defensive execution."

NUMBER TO KNOW
53.4% – The Blue Jays allowed Yeshiva to shoot 53.4% (31-58) from the field in the loss. USJ finished 11th in the nation last season in field-goal percentage defense, holding opponents on average to 39.2% shooting across 29 games. USJ didn't allow an opponent to shoot 50.0% or better from the field all last season and its now just the fourth time in program history they have allowed a team to shoot 50.0% or better from the floor. USJ is 1-3 in those games.

NOTES
  • Both USJ and Yeshiva qualified for the NCAA Tournament in 2020. Yeshiva advanced to the Sweet Sixteen before the tournament was abruptly cancelled due to the pandemic.
  • The 34 consecutive wins for Yeshiva marks the longest current winning streak in the nation and it's also the third longest in Division III history.
UP NEXT
The USJ men's basketball team will look for revenge against the Maccabees on Monday, March 1, when they host Yeshiva inside the O'Connell Center for USJ's 2020-21 home opener. Tip-off between the Blue Jays and Maccabees is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.

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