Ramapo College holds on against TCNJ, 64-60
Ramapo College extended their conference lead to two games after holding off TCNJ, 64-60.
Having reclaimed first place in the NJAC, the Ramapo College Roadrunners looked to build upon that momentum on Saturday afternoon at the Bradley Center. However, they would face a stiff test against second-place TCNJ (16-6, 11-4 NJAC). The last time both teams’ met down in Ewing, New Jersey, the Lions defeated the Roadrunners at the buzzer 66-64.
The Roadrunners led by senior Christopher Moseley (14 points) had an impressive first half where they tallied 36 points The Roadrunners offense continued to click on all cylinders, stretching the margin to 46-31 with 16 minutes left. However, Ramapo’s offense spiraled rapidly downward going without a point for three minutes allowing TCNJ to whittle the deficit down.
“I have just been trying to be aggressive these last couple of games since we had some slow starts to get us rolling and everybody in the flow of the game,” said Christopher Moseley. “We got a bunch of guys who can score and not just one guy. That makes it harder for other teams because they are focusing on me and Tom (Bonacum) and the guys pick us up when we are not scoring.”
The Lions kept up the pressure closing to within 49-43 on a jumper by Elias Bermudez with 11 minutes to go. Roadrunners sophomore guard Patrick Paterson knocked down a three to stop the run, but TCNJ ratcheted up the intensity closing the gap to 52-50 on a basket by Jordan Glover (23 points) with nine minutes left.
That is when Ramapo freshman guard Deon Hale (6 points) provided a jolt of energy off the bench, draining two free throws and coming up with two steals that led to transition points putting the Roadrunners ahead 60-50 with six minutes on the clock. After Moseley drained one of two free throws at the 4:06 mark, another dry patch ensued going with Ramapo going without a point for the next 3:20. That allowed the Lions to go on a 7-0 run, cutting the deficit down to 61-57 with 46.7 seconds.
“Deon Hale is a quite a player. I recruited Deon because I saw so much in him down from the Trenton area where TCNJ is in Ewing,” said Ramapo coach Chuck McBreen. “Deon plays so tough and believes in himself, is very confident and is quick as can be in going by people. He can handle and shoot the basketball, and you can see him starting to play the way he is capable of. This week, he was the first one early in the gym in the morning and getting after it.”
Attempting to seal the win, the Roadrunners struggled at the free throw line only hitting two of six free throws. Glover buried a trifecta with 16 seconds making it a one-possession game but Moseley iced the win for Ramapo sinking one of two free throws with seven seconds.
“It’s frustrating because they were missing their second-leading scorer in Carpenter and we went up by 14 in the second half. We had a couple of throwaways that turned into turnovers or missed shots. I went for the senior leadership, smarts, and free throw shooting but at the end of the day, we were fortunate to hang on. We have been struggling to score all year long.”
With the victory over TCNJ and New Jersey City University, Ramapo (17-5, 16-4) has a two-game cushion over both teams’ in the NJAC standings. The Roadrunners will hit the road for the next two games, starting at Rutgers-Camden next Wednesday. Back on January 3rd at the Bradley Center, Ramapo defeated the Scarlet-Raptors 93-74.
“A lot of teams broke in our favor with Montclair and Jersey City getting clipped,” said McBreen. “It gives us a two-game lead but doesn’t guarantee us anything. We still have three games left to play, and we have to win at least two of them to secure the one seed. If we get clipped and end up with seven losses we could be on the bubble and just guarantees us a bye and home game. We have to win three games and get ourselves on a win streak going into the playoffs.”
“If we don’t take care of business, we could be on the outside looking in if we don’t win the NJAC or NCCA Tournament.”