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Ramapo College second half rally falls just short at TCNJ

Returning to NJAC(New Jersey Athletic Conference) action at TCNJ(The College of New Jersey) on Saturday afternoon after competing in the D3Hoops.com Classic in Las Vegas, the Ramapo College Roadrunners looked to start 2019 on the right foot. However, the Lions roared out to a 10-0 advantage not even four minutes into the first half. It would worse as TCNJ extended the advantage to 29-10 with less than 10 minutes remaining. Despite shooting 37 percent from the field, Ramapo College did not fold under the pressure closing out the half on a 20-11 run.

 

“We showed a lot of resiliency, we let them get out to an early lead so we were pushing the bus up the hill the whole game, said Head Coach Chuck McBreen.

 

Early into the second half the Lions knocked down back-to-back trifecta’s bumping the margin up to 46-32. Fresh off being named conference player of the week and tallying 66 points in the last two games, Kashaun Barnes kept up his torrid streak pouring in 17 of his 29 points. Barnes received plenty of help from his teammates in Matt Latka netting 13 of his 19 points and Rob Lewis 15 of 18 points on the day as the Roadrunners stemmed the tide with a 12-1 run to draw within 47-44 at the 15-minute mark.

 

The see-saw contest continued with TCNJ going back up by eight points at 56-48 with 11:20 left. Ramapo answered back with a 10-2 run tying the game up with less than 10 minutes left on a lay-up from Barnes. The personal fouls started to add up for the Roadrunners as Latka drew his fourth with nine minutes on the clock and Rob McWilliams fouling out with less than four minutes remaining. Despite those setbacks and TCNJ having five players scoring in double figures led by Randy Walko pumping in 13 of his game high 20 points, Ramapo hung tough with aggressive man-to-man and full court defensive pressure.

 

“We had out chances, got back into the game with a lot of time left and we kept getting close within one, two, three or four points and not taking the lead and doing something stupid or call or two going against us, McBreen said. I don’t like to do this but some suspect calls against us. It’s hard coming back down from 19 in the first half and 14 in the second half to do that. We should not have been in that position and could have made more plays and not get down so far”

 

“We did a good job guarding the three-point line in the second half as they shot only 4 for 17 and a big part of the game was switching to the zone and full court pressure got us back into the game”

 

Shooting a sizzling 55 percent from the field and sinking 14 of 18 free throws in the second half kept the Roadrunners within striking distance. Trailing 83-81 with 14 seconds remaining after two free throws by Jordan Glover, Barnes managed to get to the charity stripe line with 7.6 seconds on the clock and sink both free throws tying the game.

 

However, it would be a foul that would decide the outcome as Lions guard P.J. Ringel(16 points) drew a foul assessed on Bryant Quill on a drive to the basket with 2.1 seconds to go. Ringel canned both shots to put TCNJ back on top but with plenty of time still left Barnes heaved a half court shot that was on line to go in but ended up clanging off the back of the rim at the buzzer.

 

“With two seconds that is a charge and should be headed to OT and let the kids decide it for five minutes or more, said McBreen. The last three times we have been here it has been a call or two. Ringel is only averaging six and got 16 and six. We know what Walko does and numbers speak for themselves. I said to my staff the game was won and lost on the backboards and we lost it by nine on the offensive glass. If we had done a better job we probably win the game. That shot by Barnes was right on line and got off a good shot and complain with two seconds to get a three-point shot on the run like that and would have been for the win”

 

“The two numbers that really stick out 2 for 14 from the three-point line is not us and took too many of them. I said to my staff is we take eight, we get six other shots and make two or three and shoot 50% for the game. We haven’t been that team and can’t make them”

 

Next up for Ramapo(10-4, 4-3 NJAC is a road game at NJCU(New Jersey City University) next Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. The Gothic Knights sport an identical record as the Roadrunners while in four-way tie for first place in the conference at 5-2.

 

“It’s not going to be easy down at Jersey City, they are going to beat you with their physicality and effort if we don’t come to play, McBreen said.

Sunil Sunder Raj

Sunil is the Rockland Boulders Beat Writer for DoubleGSports.com and also covers North Jersey High School Sports
Sunil Sunder Raj
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