Ramapo College bounces back offensively against Kean
After struggling against Montclair State, Ramapo College bounced back against Kean to get back on track.
After shooting a season-low 29% from the field against Montclair State and falling into second place in the NJAC, Ramapo College looked to rebound against Kean University (5-15, 3-10 NJAC) at the Bradley Center. Back in December, the Roadrunners demolished the Cougars 95-57.
Held to just four points at Montclair State, senior guard Josh Ford wasted no time eclipsing that total point mark, tallying nine points in the first five minutes of the first half as Ramapo built an early 18-6 lead. Senior forward Thomas Bonacum bounced back only scoring three points against Montclair State by scoring eight points by the five-minute mark of the first half.
The Roadrunners continued to sizzle from the field shooting 50% taking a 39-26 lead at halftime. Ford dropped in 11 of his season-high 22 points while Bonacum poured in 10 of his 19 points while pulling down 8 of his game-high 12 rebounds in the opening half.
“Wednesday, we did not play the best basketball as a team collectively, and there were some errors, so we had to get back to practice and clean it up,” said Josh Ford.
“Coach (McBreen) said to make us move their zone and drive into the gaps and find open shooters and get to the basket. He said the ball moves faster when it’s moving, and he told me to come out aggressive, and teams are backing off of me. If I feel comfortable, I’ll take the shot and take smart shots.”
In the second half, Ramapo extended the margin to 56-37 with 12 minutes left. However, Kean refused to give up trimming the deficit to 13 points with 8:35 remaining. Inserted into the starting lineup, Pat Peterson (9 points) contributed from beyond the arc, burying back-to-back treys boosting the margin up to 19 points.
The Roadrunners welcomed back senior guard Jimbo Long to the lineup after missing the previous two games. Long delivered seven points and 11 assists. Senior forward Nick Stanek contributed 11 points. Ramapo continued to pour it on as the lead swelled to 27 points with 5:04 on the clock, a late charge by the Cougars made the score closer than it was at 82-67.
Getting back in the win column did not seem to ease the concerns of Head Coach Chuck McBreen.
“We got off to a good start. We had 27 points with 10 minutes left and only got 12 in last 10 minutes which has been our problem all year,” said McBreen. “We get up by 25 or 27 points and can’t put teams away. It’s so demoralizing we don’t have that killer instinct. We’re supposed to beat this team and the first time we lost the bench points all year, at Kean we beat them in points in the paint 50 to 20 and today 28 to 24 but lost points off the turnover, which is a problem.”
“When we play a good team, we don’t have this lead. We had a cushion today and based on our expectations to start the year and where we are today, it’s not been fun and figure around somewhere at 18-2. We are running out of time to figure this out.”
McBreen was very complimentary about Jimbo Long returning to the lineup. “He gives another shooter on the floor and has been our floor general the past four years.”
Ramapo (15-5, 11-2 NJAC) travels to Rutgers-Newark (8-11, 4-9 NJAC) on Wednesday. Back in early December, the Roadrunners defeated the Scarlet-Raiders 60-47 at the Bradley Center. With TCNJ losing 80-79 at New Jersey City University, Ramapo and TCNJ are now tied for the NJAC lead.
“If we play like this against Rutgers-Newark, we’re going to lose. We can’t keep playing like this, or it will catch up to us,” McBreen said. “Guys are unrealistic and delusional. It’s not a one-game process, and we can’t beat the good teams’ if this is our M.O.”
“We’re undefeated at home and just trying to take it one game at a time to get that home court advantage,” said Ford. “Rutgers-Newark is going to bring that physicality, and we have to be prepared for that. Whether it is being strong against the ball defensively and making sure to contain the dribble and box out.”