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Yeshiva University’s 50-game winning streak ends with 73-59 loss at home

By Philissa Cramer

(JTA) — Yeshiva University’s history-making, record-breaking basketball winning streak came to an abrupt end Thursday night, Dec. 20, as the Maccabees suffered a bruising 73-59 loss at home.

The Maccabees entered the game against Illinois Wesleyan University ranked No. 1 in Division III, a position it reached Nov. 30 when it was 44 games into its winning streak.

The streak stood at 50 as the team tipped off against No. 4 Illinois Wesleyan in front of a packed house at Yeshiva’s Max Stern Athletic Center. Hundreds of fans were shut out.

Thursday’s game was the first time Yeshiva faced a top-25 opponent since its streak began two years ago, and it became clear early on that the team was outmatched. Yeshiva players didn’t hit a single three-pointer in the first half of the game, while Illinois Wesleyan nailed nine of 14 attempts beyond the arc. Illinois Wesleyan nabbed 21 rebounds, compared to just seven for the Maccabees.

Ethan Lasko of the Yeshiva University Maccabees looks on in the final minutes of the team’s game against Illinois Wesleyan University,
Dec. 30, 2021. (Screenshot via MacsLive)

At halftime, Yeshiva was down 49-29. Illinois Wesleyan led by more than 20 for a good chunk of the second half, as Yeshiva struggled to get back in the game. Even when the Maccabees got their trademark motion offense on track for a few possessions in the second half, they were unable to cut the lead to single digits.

The loss was the team’s first since Nov. 9, 2019. It comes after an unprecedented swell of national attention to the Orthodox university’s basketball program, helmed by a head coach, Elliot Steinmetz, who sought to take advantage of Yeshiva’s unique recruiting potential to turn the school, which last had a winning season in 2007, into a powerhouse.

Students at Yeshiva University said they were excited about their team’s unprecedented success. But for some at Yeshiva and its women’s college, Stern, the streak was clouded by an anonymous allegation of rape against an unnamed player that appeared in the student newspaper, and by the university’s response to it.

Yeshiva will have to wait longer than expected for a second chance to prove itself against top-tier competition. Shortly after Thursday night’s defeat, the school announced that its Sunday game at home against Williams College, the 17th-ranked team in Division III, was being postponed. No new date has been announced.

Int’ll Olympic Committee: Countries that ban Israeli athletes won’t be allowed to host competitions

By Shira Hanau

(JTA) — Countries that bar athletes from other countries will not be allowed to host international sports championships, the International Olympic Committee said in a letter this week.

The statement followed the cancellation of the men’s squash world championship last month, which was set to be held in Malaysia Dec. 7, after the country refused to allow Israeli athletes to participate in the contest.

Israel and Malaysia do not maintain diplomatic relations and Israelis are barred from visiting the South Asian country. Malaysia’s former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad once said he was “glad to be labeled antisemitic.”

Short track speed skater Vladislav Bykanov of the Israel Olympic team carries his country’s flag during the opening ceremony of the
2014 Winter Olympics on Feb. 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

“We urge all [international federations] to be extremely vigilant when allocating and organizing international sports competitions,” leaders of the International Olympic Committee wrote in a letter, according to the Jerusalem Post.

The International Olympic Committee leaders said that international sports associations must receive written confirmation from countries hosting championship games that all countries will be allowed to participate and treated equally. Those countries that do not ensure equal participation will “exclude themselves from the right to host international sports events until all the necessary assurances can be obtained and respected.”

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