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Clutch free throw shooting lifts Ramapo College past Rutgers-Newark

Coming off a gritty win over William Paterson University while snapping a three-game losing streak in the process last Saturday at the Bradley Center, the Ramapo College Roadrunners welcomed in Rutgers-Newark(9-8, 2-8 NJAC) on Wednesday night.


After some early back and forth action in the first half, the Roadrunners went on an 11-2 run to open up a 25-16 lead with four minutes left. The Scarlet Raiders ignited a rebuttal capped off by a three-point play from Chase Barneys shaving the margin down to 30-25 at halftime.


In the second half, Rutgers-Newark kept charging ahead jumping out in front for the first time since the 14-minute mark of the first half. However, Ramapo held tough as the teams’ kept exchanging the lead in a physical battle with fouls continuing to pile up. The Roadrunners went ahead 49-44 at the eight minute juncture only to see the Scarlet Raiders answer back with a run thanks to a pair of three-pointers.


Shooting near 48 percent from the field, it was the sizzling free throw shooting that kept Ramapo in the contest by knocking down 21 out of 25 free throws. Trailing 59-58, Jason Battle buried a triple with four minutes remaining. Kashaun Barnes stepped up to the charity stripe and hit four free throws extending the Roadrunners lead to six points at 65-59 with less than three minutes to go.


However the duo of Barneys(22 points) and Tyler Ofray(20 points) kept Rutgers-Newark hanging around drilling trifecta’s. Ramapo managed to weather the oncoming storm of pressure with Battle going a perfect six of six from the charity stripe to seal the 77-72 victory, finish with a season high 17 points and 8 of 10 free throws. Barnes poured in a game high 29 points and blazing 16 of 18 free throws. Matt Latka added 11 points while Rob Lewis registered his ninth double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds.


Head Coach Chuck McBreen on the win, “The difference in the game, we didn’t defend as well as in the second half so every free throw mattered. When we got the lead, we got a few steps down the stretch and separated from a two to four point game and they had to resort to fouling. Give credit to Jason Battle and Kashaun for making shots and free throws down the stretch”


“We took care of the ball. Jason Battle is really growing up from a freshman to sophomore in the same season. I knew how good he could be, 17 points today, seven rebounds and took care of the basketball and good with pressure dribbling through and did an amazing job. If we’re going to take that next step and get up to that echelon of the league and factor down the stretch for him to play at a high level”


“A little more balance with four guys in double figures and if we’re going to get to the finish line seven or eight guys are not going to do it, we need nine or 10. Give credit to them, they guard, doing a good job with defense and in every game. Only game they lost in double figures was to us, we knew they would make it a grind and defensive battle. Only stat that matters to us is to go 1-0 and ended up doing that tonight”


Kashaun Barnes on the victory, “The free throws were huge especially by Jason Battle. Clutch free throws, we’re at home and game we needed. Our thing is to maintain and hit free throws at the end. Jason always had the dog in him and we had to make him understand he is good enough. He is starting to feel comfortable in controlling the offense. It’s huge to have guys stepping up, Matt(Latka) coming back and grabbing boards, Rob(Lewis) and Rob McWilliams coming off a great game. We are all clicking and it’s coming together”


Next up for Ramapo(12-5, 6-4 NJAC) is an away game at Stockton(7-10, 5-5 NJAC) on Saturday with tip-off set for 3:00 p.m. Back in December the Roadrunners defeated the Ospreys 77-50. This will be a homecoming for Barnes having played three seasons before transferring.


McBreen on the match-up, “They are a totally different team with their home and away records and going to be a tough game for us. We have our work cut out for us, we have a stretch of four out of five home games and won first two. If we’re fortunate to win down at Stockton we have Montclair and Rowan in our gym and home has been good to us the last couple of years. If we put a streak together and catch these teams’ one game ahead of us and jump all the way to second place and get behind Jersey City. The main thing is to get byes and home games and way too early to talk about the playoffs but important to be in the driver’s seat”

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Sunil Sunder Raj

Since July of 2014 Sunil Sunder Raj has been with In The Zone. Sunil has experience covering minor league baseball, high school and college sports. A beat writer for the Rockland Boulders for six years, Ramapo College men’s basketball for four years, NJIT men’s basketball and Seton Hall women’s basketball. Now focusing on feature articles about athletes, coaches and sports media professionals. A graduate of Ramapo College of New Jersey with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism.
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