Ramapo College rallies for 86-76 win over Rowan
Falling out of the D3hoops.com Top 25 poll after watching an 11-game NJAC streak end in a buzzer-beater loss at TCNJ on Saturday, the Ramapo College Roadrunners were attempting to right the ship at Rowan University on Wednesday night. Head Coach Chuck McBreen emphasized in the strongest terms that his team had to fix specific areas immediately or the season could spiral out of control.
McBreen’s message resonated with the players in the first half after eclipsing their first-half point total at TCNJ of 24 points by the 12-minute mark against the Profs. With the offense markedly better, Ramapo pushed the pace, extending their lead to 39-27 with six minutes remaining. Rowan answered back with a 7-0 to trim the deficit. The Roadrunners responded draining three trifectas in the final minutes of the half, taking a 50-38 lead at halftime. Ramapo shot a blistering 51 percent from the perimeter while burying five of 10 treys. Senior forward Christopher Moseley scored 12 of his game-high 18 points.
All those positive vibes and solid stats seemed to disappear in the second half as the Roadrunners offense went cold, managing just four points in the first six minutes. On the other hand, Rowan got their offensive mojo back going on an 11-0 run to take their first lead since the 19:38 mark of the first half. The Profs kept their foot on the gas pedal widening their lead to 65-58 with less than 11 minutes remaining in regulation.
Ramapo battled back and regained the lead 70-69 on a three-pointer from sophomore Patrick Peterson (10 points) with seven minutes remaining. The Roadrunners turned up the defensive intensity holding Rowan to nine points in the final 7:58 of the contest. Senior forward Thomas Bonacum (13 points) capped an 8-0 run on a lay-up with five minutes left. Rowan whittled the lead down to 81-76 with 1:17 but senior guard Jimbo Long (15 points) sank a critical three-point field goal to seal the victory. Ramapo dominated the points in the paint 46-26, and the bench contributed 26 points to three for the Profs.
“Rowan is a tough place to win, we came out with a good start and had a lull in the second half which was a little disappointing but one thing we did was hold it together and 21 point swing to start the second half,” McBreen said. “They had all the momentum at that point, and our guys started to play. The game could have gotten away from us, but a big bounce back win for us on the road, and we needed in the worst way.”
“Jimbo (Long) was huge for us, and we talked to him about being an offensive factor on the floor and shooting the ball well this year. We need him to knock down some shot so we can spread the floor.”
“Fortunately they were terrible at the free throw line missing 17 of them. We got away from playing together as a team and all trying to do it individually instead of working together. When we worked together, we got easy baskets, getting to the rim, layups and knocked down some shots.”
The Roadrunners (11-4, 7-1 NJAC) return to the Bradley Center on Saturday, Jan. 13 facing off against a familiar foe in New Jersey City University (12-2, 6-1 NJAC) at 3:00 p.m. with first place in the conference on the line. Last season the Gothic Knights ended Ramapo’s 14-game winning streak, but the Roadrunners defeated NJCU 67-64 in the conference tournament final at the Bradley Center on Thomas Bonacum’s dramatic half-court three-pointer at the buzzer.
“A big match-up and we did not want to look ahead with two big road games at TCNJ and Rowan and hoping to win both but let one slip away at TCNJ but got this one tonight,” said McBreen.
“We can set our sights fully on Jersey City and a battle for first place and the big thing on our home court and can’t afford to lose this one, and we still have to go there. It takes on a more significant meaning and a big challenge for us. We’re looking forward to it and have two good practices tomorrow and Friday to prepare for Saturday’s game.”