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Second half rally propels Ramapo College to 79-70 win at Stockton

Coming off two consecutive home wins, the Ramapo College Roadrunners hit the road at Stockton University on Saturday. The game also marked the return of Kashaun Barnes who played his first three seasons with the Ospreys.

A nightmarish start for the Roadrunners unfolded in the first half as Stockton raced out to an 8-0 advantage in the first minute of action. It would only get worse with the Ospreys extending the margin to 15-5 at the 16-minute mark. However, Ramapo held tough thanks to free throw shooting knocking down 13 of 17 and play of Andre Morgan scoring 11 points. Even with Barnes picking up his third foul with three minutes left and shooting just 31 percent from the field, the Roadrunners managed to trim Stockton’s lead down to 40-32 at intermission.

“We came out shooting jump shots, not getting to the rim and boxing out, things that get you in a hole,” said Head Coach Chuck McBreen. “We feel so comfortable at the Bradley Center where are the exact opposite on the road and don’t know why but really got into them at the half.”

Limited to a total of six points at halftime, the trio of Rob Lewis, Rob McWilliams and Matt Latka exploded in the second half tallying 43 of the 47 points Ramapo scored. The Roadrunners came out blazing going on a 10-2 run to tie the game up with 17 minutes later. Not even 20 seconds later Lewis converted a three-point play giving Ramapo its first lead of the contest. Despite Barnes (8 points) charged with his fourth foul and exiting the game at the 15-minute point, the Roadrunners maintained the lead.

Leading 58-56 with less than 11 minutes left on the clock, Ramapo went on a 10-2 run in the next five minutes to open a double-digit lead up. The Roadrunners did not step off the gas pedal coasting to the 79-70 win and third in a row. Lewis finished with his 10thdouble-double of the season with 17 points and 11 rebounds, Matt Latka also poured in 17 points with Rob McWilliams netting 15 points and Jason Battle and Andre Morgan each had 11 points.

Ramapo outrebounded Stockton 19-11 in the second half and 39-32 overall, won the battle of points in the paint 46-34 including 32-16 in the second half, shot 66.7% from the field and 85.7% from the free throw line.

“The second half is the way we wanted to play and jumped on them to start the second half and erased that eight-point deficit and getting easy buckets,” McBreen said. “Our guys stepped up and came out successful. We’re getting a lot more balance, the beginning it was a lot of Barnes and Lewis but Matt Latka coming back has given us a huge lift with points and rebounds. It makes us much more difficult to beat if we continue to get the balance we are getting. When you have one guy scoring a team can find a way to stop that guy, when five are scoring it’s not that easy.”

With Rowan defeating New Jersey City University, Ramapo (13-5, 7-4 NJAC) is one game behind both teams’ in the conference standings. The Roadrunners return to the Bradley Center for the next two games, starting with Montclair State (12-5, 7-3 NJAC) next Wednesday with tip-off set for 7:30 p.m. Back in November the Red Hawks won resoundingly 95-79 at the Panzer Athletic Center.

“It comes down to the backboards and they score points off the offensive backboards and same way Jersey City does,” said McBreen. “If we can do a better job this will be a ball game. It comes down to us practicing well on Monday and Tuesday and accepting challenge of toughness. At halftime of today’s game I challenged their mental toughness but this game will be physical toughness as well and if we back down we will come out on the wrong end of the score this time.”

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Sunil Sunder Raj

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