Feb 27, 2008 — Facing a 22-point deficit with 17 minutes remaining in the game, the Yeshiva University Men’s Basketball team staged one of the most incredible comebacks in the history of Skyline Conference Basketball on Tuesday night, stunning second-seeded SUNY Old Westbury, 88-82 in overtime. With the win, the sixth-seeded Maccabees will face #2 St. Joseph’s on Thursday night at St. Joseph’s at 8 pm.
After trailing 43-26 at halftime and by as many as 53-31 only three minutes into the second half, Yeshiva went on the most improbable of rallies, led by freshman Zachary Gordon. Gordon, who scored seven points during the first half, exploded for 34 points during the second half and overtime session for a 41-point night that was not only a career high, but also marked the most number of points by a Skyline Conference Basketball player this season. Gordon converted 15 of his 21 field goal attempts, went 11 for 13 from the free throw line, and registered a career-high 16 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the 2007-08 season. Amazingly, Gordon scored 18 of Yeshiva’s final 20 points, including nine of YU’s 11 points during the extra session.
The comeback was made possible by a 14-2 run that made it 55-45 with 13:25 to play in the game. After Old Westbury extended the lead back to 71-57 with 7:08 remaining, an 18-4 Maccabee run, culminating with a Gordon lay-up with 1:00 remaining, tied the score at 75. A Joshua Frazier lay-up with 35 seconds remaining gave the Panthers a 77-75 lead, but with 19 seconds to play in regulation, sophomore Alex Claster found Gordon wide open underneath the basket, and Gordon scored to tie the game once again. Old Westbury took four shots during the game’s final possession to try to secure the win, but none of the shots fell, and the game entered an extra session.
Old Westbury converted its first two shots during the overtime, and held an 81-79 lead with 3:27 remaining before Gordon and company stormed ahead for good. Gordon’s two free throws with 3:08 left tied the score at 81. After Gordon forced a Panther turnover, Yeshiva senior David Schaulewicz was fouled and hit both shots to give YU its first lead of the game, 83-81 with 2:35 left. Another Old Westbury turnover put the ball back in Gordon’s hands, and the freshman scored again to make it 85-81 with 1:34 to play. After Old Westbury made it 85-82 with just over a minute remaining, the Panthers missed three straight shots, forcing Old Westbury to foul, and Gordon went 3 for 4 from the line during the final minute to ice the victory.
Four Maccabees finished in double figures as Claster scored 15 points, Schaulewicz added 11, and junior Ben Lockspeiser tied his career high with 12 points. The Maccabees were outrebounded 39-29 and committed 21 turnovers compared to Old Westbury’s 14, but Yeshiva finished the game shooting 60 percent from the floor, while Old Westbury shot 43 percent.
Yeshiva’s game at St. Joseph’s on Thursday will be their third of the season as the Golden Eagles downed Yeshiva 81-71 on Dec. 6 and 69-59 on Feb. 10. This will be Yeshiva’s second trip to the Skyline Conference Semifinals as the Maccabees fell to Manhattanville during the 2001-02 Final Four.