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Yeshiva University Basketball Team Ends Unforgettable Era

Yeshiva University's Ryan Turell (11) dribbles the ball down court while being defended by Johns Hopkins University's Carson James (21) and Lincoln Yeutter (25) in the first round of the NCAA's Division III basketball tournament, in Galloway Township, N.J., on Friday, March 4, 2022. The Yeshiva Maccabees lost to the Blue Jays, 63-59 at Stockton University Sports Center. (AP Photo/Jessie Wardarski)
Yeshiva University's Ryan Turell (11) dribbles the ball down court while being defended by Johns Hopkins University's Carson James (21) and Lincoln Yeutter (25) in the first round of the NCAA's Division III basketball tournament, in Galloway Township, N.J., on Friday, March 4, 2022. The Yeshiva Maccabees lost to the Blue Jays, 63-59 at Stockton University Sports Center. (AP Photo/Jessie Wardarski)

Galloway Township, N.J. (AP) -- On a Sabbath evening, the Yeshiva University men’s basketball team held hands in a circle at a hotel where they gathered for postgame. Smiling, the Maccabees sang in Hebrew: “When the month of Adar begins, joy increases!”

It was the start of what's known as the happiest month in the Jewish calendar, when the joyful holiday of Purim takes place. It was also the start of March Madness. As the sun set, it was hard to tell that just a few hours before, there had been tears in the locker room — the Macs had lost the first game of the NCAA's Division III tournament and a chance to realize their dream of a national championship.