WILLIAMSTOWN, MASS. — The #22 Yeshiva Maccabees (18-1) defeated the Williams College Ephs (10-11) 77-68 to win their 18th consecutive game. The Maccabees closed the matchup on an 8-2 run while going 6-6 from the charity stripe over the final 30 seconds to seal the victory.
"I thought we took a step back towards where we want to be in terms of competitiveness and spirit," Eph head coach Kevin App said after the game. "I'm proud of them for giving us a chance to win against a really good team."
Karpowicz scored the first six Eph points to put the home squad up 6-3 2:09 into the game. The teams would then go back and forth over the next several minutes, and the contest was leveled at 18 points with 11:04 to go in the first. Jovan Jones had two layups in this span.
Eitan Halpert nailed a three-pointer for the Maccabees to put them up 21-18, and the Ephs would never take the lead back. Ryan Turell's mid-range jump shot put Yeshiva ahead seven points with 9:06 to go in the half, and the Ephs continued to play from behind.
Mickey Babek hit two treys late in the second half for the Ephs, though the Maccabees ended on an 11-2 run to go into the break up 38-28. No player reached double-figures in the half — Karpowicz and Turell each had eight points. Yeshiva narrowly outshot the Ephs 45% to 43% in the half.
"We had a couple chances to get defensive rebounds and gave them a second opportunity, and they made us pay with a couple of three-pointers," App said of the Maccabees' run. "They're one of the best offenses in the country, and I thought their upperclassmen played like that."
The Ephs forced three straight turnovers to begin the second half, and they capitalized on the offensive end. Jovan Jones capped off a 6-0 start to the period for Williams with two free throws, cutting the deficit to four.
The Ephs slowly clawed away but the Maccabees consistently matched Eph baskets, and their lead stayed between four and six points for the next three minutes. Caleb Milobsky scored two three-pointers for Yeshiva, negating a Nate Karren and-one. Babek responded with a shot of his own from deep, and the Maccabees led 52-48 with 9:30 left.
Ryan Moon took an Eph steal coast-to-coast, finishing a layup to make the score 52-50. Out of a Yeshiva timeout, Babek cashed in his fourth three-pointer of the night to close the gap just one point with 8:22 left.
Karpowicz tied the game at 56 after going 1-2 from the free throw line, the first tie since 11:04 remaining in the first half.
The Maccabees stayed persistent, rattling off five consecutive points — only for Babek to hit yet another trey from the wing. Milobsky responded with his fifth three-pointer, putting Yeshiva up 64-59 with 4:43 to go.
A pair of Babek free throws pulled the Ephs to within two, but Simcha Halpert knocked down a three-pointer from the corner to make the score 67-62, prompting an Eph timeout. Karpowicz traded baskets with the Maccabees to keep Williams afloat, and the Ephs had an opportunity with the ball trailing 69-66 with 1:55 to play.
The Ephs were not able to finish off the comeback, however, as Yeshiva locked down on defense and hit their free throws to carry home the victory.
Karpowicz led all scorers with 21 points, while adding seven rebounds. Henry Feinberg brought in nine rebounds to go along with his six points. Babek had a career day for the Ephs with 19 points, as he went 5-7 from downtown.
"Mickey played great. He had a really tough task defensively, and made it really difficult on his guy the whole game. Offensively, he made big shot after big shot. That's what you want to see — seniors playing with confidence and really leading the team this time of year."
For Yeshiva, Milobsky contributed 19 points off the bench. Ryan Turell was next in line with 18, while teammate Gabriel Leifer scored 12 points while grabbing 15 boards.
A key difference on the statsheet was on three-pointers: Yeshiva converted 11-26 (42%), while the Ephs went 5-21 (24%).
The Ephs close out the regular season with three NESCAC matchups, the first of which is at Wesleyan on Friday, February 7 at 7:30 p.m.
"We're looking forward to taking another step back to the best version of ourselves, which we've shown a lot this year. There's no better time to do that against a rival like Wesleyan on Friday, so we'll start with that one and go from there. We have a lot of great basketball ahead of us — the middle of the NESCAC is tight like usual. Hopefully we can compete at a high level and see what happens with seeding. We've been tested on the road all year, and it will be no different on Friday."