Ramapo College extends winning streak to four games
Due to inclement weather on Wednesday, the Ramapo College Roadrunners had to wait an extra day to play at Rutgers-Camden (3-19, 1-15 NJAC). When the two teams squared off back in early January at the Bradley Center, the Scarlet Raptors gave Ramapo early fits in the first half down 40-35 at halftime before the Roadrunners pulled away late for a 93-74 victory.
With a looming showdown at New Jersey City University on Saturday, Ramapo was fully aware this could be a trap game. Last year when the team’s played in Camden, the Scarlet Raptors bolted out to a 61-41 lead at the intermission before the Roadrunners stormed back in the second half outscoring Rutgers-Camden 53-25 for the 94-86 comeback win.
“Extremely worried, we went down there with an experienced team and undefeated and they had not won and we were down by 20, said Head Coach Chuck McBreen. Believe me I’m trying to get the kids to understand and gave them some scores of the game at Camden where they played Jersey City to the wire and lost by three to Rowan in overtime. They may have only one conference game but play teams’ very tough”
In the first half, Ramapo were locked in close battle with Rutgers. Leading 22-16 with less than eight minutes to go, the Roadrunners bench led by sophomore Jordan Zagadou sparked an 11-0 run over the next three minutes. With senior forward Nick Stanek and sophomore guard Patrick Peterson limited to less than 10 minutes of action, senior guard Josh Ford stepped up dropping in nine of his 11 points. The Roadrunners shot 56 percent from the perimeter taking a 43-28 advantage into the locker room.
“The bench did a real good job tonight, 8 points each from Rob McWilliams and Matt Latka, 6 from Jordan Zagadou and 5 from Rob Lewis, McBreen said. “At the end of the day those guys did a good job and getting back to where we were before. Our bench has been a real positive for us and I said after practice (Wednesday) we could be real special if we have the starters and bench hitting on all cylinders at the same time and trying to strive for and haven’t had all year.
Ramapo continued to pad its lead in the second half, extending the margin to 21 points. Senior forward Thomas Bonacum poured in 10 of his game-high 17 points while grabbing team-high 11 rebounds as the Roadrunners cruised to the 75-55 victory and fourth win in a row and eighth in last nine games. Ramapo dominated the points in the paint 40-10, rebounds 49-21 and second chance points 20-4.
Next up for the Roadrunners (18-5, 14-2 NJAC) is a rematch against New Jersey City University (18-5, 12-4 NJAC) on Saturday afternoon in Jersey City with tip-off set for 3:00 p.m. Currently Ramapo holds a game and half lead over the Gothic Knights in the conference. The last time both teams’ met at the Bradley Center on January, the Roadrunners edged NJCU in an overtime thriller 85-84 on Josh Ford’s lay-up with 1.7 seconds remaining. Gothic Knights sophomore forward Sam Toney put on an offensive clinic tallying 42 points.
“Only one day to prepare for Jersey City, a tough match-up and place to play, said McBreen. I know what’s at stake and at the end of the day know how tough they are going to be. We’re trying to secure the number one seed and a lot of work to do and have to win two out of the last three and give ourselves two opportunities to get into the (NCAA) tournament. We need to get to 20 regular season wins and even if we get clipped in the (NJAC) tournament possibly get in as at large team”