Ramapo College winning streak snapped by New Jersey City University
For a fourth consecutive game, Ramapo College and New Jersey City University went right down to the wire. Holding a game and half lead over NJCU in the NJAC standings, the Roadrunners were attempting to clinch the regular season title and overall number one seed in the tournament. Unfortunately, it would not be an easy feat for Ramapo at the John J. Moore Athletic & Fitness Center. Last season Jersey City ended the Roadrunners 14 game-winning streak.
Down most of the first half, Ramapo College charged back with a 9-0 run. Led by sophomore guard Patrick Peterson and senior forward Thomas Bonacum, the Roadrunners continued to sizzle from the perimeter. Bonacum knocked down a trey with 1:10 to go, pushing the advantage to 46-38. Ramapo shot 63 percent from the field in the first half.
After Gothic Knights sophomore forward Sam Toney lit up the stat sheet in the first game at the Bradley Center with 42 points, the Ramapo defense did a terrific job limiting Toney to just three points in the first half. However, in the second half it would be a different story with the combination of Toney (13 points) and Jeff Haddock (14 points) doing some damage. NJCU connected on 7-of-11 three’s in the second half, after only being able to hit four in the opening frame.
With 11 minutes remaining, Shaquan Worthy hit a lay-up to tie the game at 64. One minute later, Yuri Brutus put the Gothic Knights ahead for the first time since the 8:58 mark of the first half. Back came Ramapo College as Peterson drilled a triple. A nip and tuck affair continued as both teams traded baskets but the momentum shifted on Toney’s three-point play with 4:17 remaining.
The Roadrunners continued to hang tough with Peterson connecting on a jumper with 3:25 remaining to trim the deficit down to one. 17 seconds later, Worthy’s three from the top of the key made it 84-80. Senior guard Josh Ford’s (11 points) lay-up with less than three minutes left made it a one possession game, but that would be as close Ramapo would get the rest of the way. Toney’s lay-up with 1:17 left coupled by NJCU knocking down free throws thwarted a comeback by the Roadrunners, as Jersey City held on for the 89-84 victory.
“There was a questionable call, James long run over late in the game and what really changed the complexion of the game, said Head Coach Chuck McBreen. We’re in a one-point game and he gets run over. We didn’t recover from that and there were some questionable calls down the stretch. The effort was there and they knocked down some three’s”
“We came to play and Tommy (Bonacum) played like an All-American today and expected all year and he wanted this one and came to play. We’re up six at the half and we lose this game by five and let up 49 points in the second half. We did a poor job in the game and I shortened the rotation today and we got killed in second chance points, bench and off turnovers. A number of stats we wanted to win on a normal basis and didn’t win today. All we can do us move forward to Wednesday and big game for us. Rowan was able to come here and beat them and we have our work cut out for us”
Next up for the Roadrunners (18-5, 14-3 NJAC) is the final regular season home game and “Senior Night” at the Bradley Center next Wednesday against Rowan University (13,11, 9-8 NJAC) with tip-off set at 7:30 p.m. The last time both teams played Ramapo College had to rally in the second half for an 86-76 win. Currently, Ramapo College holds a one-game lead in the conference over NJCU (19-5, 13-4 NJAC) and TCNJ (18-6, 13-4).
“This game is huge, if we win, it gets us to 19 wins and if we lose it’s the number one seed, McBreen said. Last time we were up by 10 at the half and they went on a 29-10 run in the first 10 minutes of the second half and we had to come from behind. We’re in trouble if we don’t come to play Wednesday”