YULA Panthers Win Saracheck Title In Overtime Classic

Junior point guard Alex Gabbay says goodbye to Magen David and its 24 game-winning streak, scoring 10 points in overtime to win MVP and give YULA its record ninth Sarachek title.
April 1, 2024
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After a tough battle between two heavyweight teams, no. 2 Yeshiva University of Los Angeles (YULA)  Panthers won the Sarachek Tournament with a 69-59 overtime win over the No. 1 Magen David Warriors at Yeshiva University in New York on April 1.

YULA’s junior point guard Alex Gabbay, whose three-pointer saved the team from defeat against Ida Crown, put the team on his back in overtime, scoring 10 points on two layups, a jumper and four free throws as Magen David had no answer for his speed and tenacity. He had 22 points, six rebounds and five steals, and was named MVP. YULA clamped down on defense as Magen David couldn’t score in overtime until there was less than a minute to go.

It looked like YULA would win in regulation, but was unable to corral a late rebound, giving Magen David one last chance. The Warriors’ Moses Smeke confidently dribbled the ball and nailed a clutch jumper with about one second left in the fourth quarter. A nearly full court shot by YULA wasn’t that far off but missed at the buzzer.

Junior guard Yoni Hollender showed star power, hitting four three pointers, giving him a stat line of  20 points with five assists and three steals. Senior Yishai Rosenblatt had 11 points, six rebounds and two assists and made a key basket after briefly coming out of the game in the fourth quarter after being hit in the nose.

YULA trailed 16-15 after the first quarter and led 26-24 at the half with coach Michael Pollack telling sideline reporter SJ Tannenbaum that the key to winning the game would be defense and rebounding.

Magen David, coached by Ike Dweck, had been on a 24-game win streak. The team won the Yeshiva League Championship and boasted such talent as senior forwards Mark Sardar and Jack Haber who were powerful inside and difficult to stop. Going into the game, the only two losses had been with Haber out, with the last loss coming in December. Smeke showcased his sweet jumper and nerves of steel. But it appeared a mistake by the refs would be costly for YULA, as a jumper by Smeke was ruled a three, though a replay showed his foot was on the line and it should have only been a two-point basket. Magen David’s Joshua Chabbot had the impossible task of defending Gabbay and on one occasion tried to draw a charge, but it was ruled a blocking foul.

Senior forward Yishai Rosenblatt anchored YULA’s defense and scored 11 points, with six rebounds and two steals. While junior guard Jaden Azeroual was unable to make a shot from behind the arc, he came up with the key block that prevented YULA from losing in regulation. Senior guard Josh Barak hit a key three-pointer and was sturdy all game, while senior guard Judah Robin also made some important plays.

On Macslive.com, analysts Yosef Silver, Ari Schopf, Marvin Azarak and Akiva Poppers all predicted that Magen David would win, with only Oren Glickman correctly predicting that YULA would win.

Gabbay asked his team whether this squad was better than the YULA champions from 2016.

Tannenbaum mentioned it was the 10th consecutive year a team from Los Angeles made the finals of the Sarachek championship.

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