Ramapo College Loses In Heartbreaking Fashion To TCNJ
After Wednesday’s victory over Rutgers-Camden, Head Coach Chuck McBreen made it very clear the Roadrunners had to clean up some things and come out with better energy and effort to start the game.
That would be no easy task as Ramapo went up against The College of New Jersey (10-3, 5-1 NJAC) at Packer Hall in Ewing Township. Coming into the Saturday’s game, the Lions were tied for second in the NJAC. They also had four players averaging in double figures and TCNJ scored 81 points per game.
Ramapo College’s offensive woes continued in the first half as they scored just seven points in the first nine minutes of the game as TCNJ raced out to a 17-7 advantage. After McBreen used various combinations, including eight players off the bench, sophomore guard Patrick Peterson scored five points in 1:13. The Lions managed to increase their lead to double digits at 27-17 but Peterson caught fire again finishing with a game-high 20 points at intermission as the Roadrunners trailed 34-24.
“If Pat Peterson doesn’t score 11, half of our 24 points, we’re blown out in the first half,” said McBreen. “To come out every game with a starting five that are four-year starters and they were going to be mad if I made a change but we can’t keep on starting slow every game and push the bus uphill and we did.”
With the intermission clock winding down, the Roadrunners did not participate in a game-high and came out of the locker room a motivated bunch in the second half. Right off the bat, senior forward Thomas Bonacum poured in five of his 10 points on the day. Held to one point in the first half, senior forward Christopher Moseley came alive dropping in 13 points, including a layup with 14 minutes left giving Ramapo College its first lead of the game at 38-37. The Roadrunners could not contain the tandem of Eric Murdock Jr. (19 points) and Niall Carpenter (14 points) knocking down trifecta’s leading to a Lions 7-0 run and a seven-point lead at 49-42 with nine minutes left on the clock.
Despite the deficit, Ramapo College kept battling back with Peterson knocking down a pair of jumpers and Moseley’s two free throws trimmed the lead to one at 59-58 with 2:34 remaining. Senior guard Josh Ford (12 points) put the Roadrunners back on top with a fast break layup 21 seconds later. Murdock Jr. ended up getting fouled on a three-point attempt, making two out of three free throws as TCNJ regained the lead 61-60 with 1:37 left.
The back and forth action continued with Peterson’s layup 20 seconds later that gave the Roadrunners a lead but Carpenter buried his second trey of the game with 50 seconds remaining. Ford’s driving layup to the rim nodded the game up at 64-64 with 26 seconds left.
Milking the clock down to the final seconds, it was not one of the stars on the Lions that would take the air out of the balloon for the Roadrunners and snap an 11-game NJAC winning streak. Randy Walko scored his only points of the game on a floater from close range at the buzzer as TCNJ escaped with the 66-64 win leaving the Ramapo College players and coaches stunned.
Visibly upset and dismayed after the game ended, McBreen did not mince around with his words.
“I don’t know what to say but we have to fix it, we’re in trouble and have two tough games and said all along if we don’t fix this sh*t we could be 10-6 after this next week and we’re going to be in f**king trouble with the NCAA Tournament. Guys come to practice and don’t want to work hard and f***king make believe they are tired and we’re not getting better and doing the same f**king things we have been doing and killing us and disappointing.”
“We have a championship team that went 26-3 last year and everybody back and not where we should be.”
“We controlled the numbers, down at the half in points in the paint and outscored them 22-6 in the second half and won a lot of stats and numbers change. But we built ourselves a hole and exhausted so much energy to finish off the comeback but you have to finish plays.”
“We missed a couple of putbacks and when you look at the numbers it’s almost even everywhere with field goal percentage, rebounds, turnovers, and at the end of the day, the difference is at the free throw line. We made 10 out of 15 which is terrible and they made 14 of 20 and they win the game by two and free throws by four.”
Ramapo College (10-4, 6-1 NJAC) saw their NJAC lead over New Jersey City University fall to one game (11-2 5-1 NJAC). The Roadrunners look to right the ship at Rowan University (8-6, 4-3 NJAC) on Wednesday, January 10th with tip-off at 6:00 p.m.