Having won the NJAC regular season championship last Saturday against New Jersey City University, the Ramapo College Roadrunners wrapped up the conference schedule at Rowan University on Wednesday night and displayed no signs of slowing down, dispatching the Profs 90-71. With their 23rd win of the season, Ramapo matched its win total from 2012-13 season and finished 16-2 in the NJAC.
In the first half junior forward and captain Thomas Bonacum came out firing, pouring in 16 of his game-high 20 points. Bonacum also pulled down 11 rebounds in the contest. Scoring for both teams’ was at a premium as the lead changed hands several times. The Roadrunners took control with an 8-0 run grabbing a 36-25 advantage with 8:33 left. However, Rowan answered back with an 8-0 run cutting the gap to 38-33. Ramapo pushed the lead back up to double figures at 47-35 with four minutes remaining, only to see the Profs surge at the end of the half trimming the deficit to 50-45 at halftime.
“A great win for us and Rowan had been playing real well, beating The College of New Jersey and New Jersey City in the same week, and beat TCNJ by double figures,” said Head Coach Chuck McBreen. “They had a win streak and we’re playing for a 3rd seed. A lot at stake and for us to go down there in that environment and play the way we did was very impressive. We came out of the game and got an early lead and had it up to 12. We were in foul trouble and didn’t finish the half strong.”
Ramapo came out strong in the second half behind the play of senior forward Sultan Aminu erupting for 16 of his game-high 20 points while grabbing 14 rebounds. The Roadrunners relentlessly attacked the glass ruling the backboards on both ends of the floor and easily getting second chance opportunities boosting the lead to at the 13-minute mark. Rowan refused to go away quietly cutting the lead back to 69-64 with 10:15 left.
That is as close as the lead would get as buckets by junior forward Nick Stanek (11 points), senior guard Cory Soanes and Aminu expanded the lead to 75-64 with 8 minutes remaining. Ramapo won the battle in the paint 50 to 34, rebounds 58-32 and second chance points 25 to 8. The Roadrunners clamped down defensively holding Rowan to 26 points in the second half. Junior forward Christopher Moseley and guard Josh Ford chipped in with 12 points apiece.
“The good thing in the second half we had the regulars in and turned on them right away and got some separation,” said McBreen. “An all-around good effort and some guys played major roles and Sultan had a monster game. We pounded it inside as we always want to win the points in the paint and did that.”
“We limited them to 26 points and real low field goal percentage and three-point line. We had not been guarding the three well of late and last night did an excellent job and came away with the win.”
Now Ramapo awaits the winner of the first round NJAC conference game between Rowan and Montclair State University on Saturday February 18. The Roadrunners semifinal game next Tuesday at the Bradley Center starts at 7:00 p.m.
“We’re excited and maybe a rematch with Rowan or Montclair,” McBreen explained. “No matter who it is, both are tough opponents and have our work cut out for us if we want to get to the final. We’re going to have to beat a tough opponent on Tuesday and looking forward to it. What we wanted to do all along is be in the Bradley Center for these playoffs and our kids took care of business and proud of them and ability to do that. We’re just trying to take the next game one at a time and build our résumé.”