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The Ramapo College Roadrunners were so close to victory on Saturday night in the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament at the Bradley Center; just two-tenths of a second left in regulation from advancing to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2005. That’s when Keene State’s Jacquel Edwards dashed those dreams driving to the basket for a lay-up tying the game up at 81-81 and sending the contest to an extra session.

In overtime, junior forward/captain Thomas Bonacum (14 points) gave the Roadrunners a 5-point cushion by draining a three pointer with 2:40 remaining. However, there was no stopping Owls forward Ty Nichols on this night as Nichols (32 points) came right back burying his third trey of the game.

After Ramapo junior forward Nick Stanek (17 points) knocked down a pair of free throws making it 91-87 with 2:15 on the clock, Edwards (16 points) responded six seconds later swishing two free throws and Jake Collagan unleashed a trifecta putting Keene State ahead 92-91 with 46.1 seconds last.

Looking to duplicate the buzzer-beater shot Bonacum hit in the NJAC Tournament Championship game, the ball this time was in the hands of freshman guard Patrick Peterson (11 points) but his jump shot clanged off the back of the rim as the Owls prevailed 92-91 thus ending Ramapo’s school record breaking season at 26-3.

“We were up five, the kid came down and hit a three and was huge,” Head Coach Chuck McBreen. “Nick (Stanek) made two free throws for us to up four but we kept talking about defense and rebounds and didn’t do either. We lost the rebounds and get better effort on the offensive boards and they out rebounded us by five on the offensive backboards. Defensively we let up 81 points in regulation and who are you going to beat and talked to the guys about holding teams’ under 70. We did a bad job of guarding, talked about transition defense and taking care of the ball.”

“At halftime they led in turnovers 12-7 but in the second half we lose that 20-18 and had 13. We didn’t do enough to win and they’re a good basketball team but tonight we should have won, we’re home and crowd behind us and our guys didn’t defend and rebound like they should have.”

Nick Stanek on the game, “There were times during the game when we should have got stops and came down to having defensive stops. I have to give them credit they hit big shots, we would hit a shot and they came down and matched it. At the end of the day you have to give credit where credit is due. We were able to get buckets but kept fouling and that stopped the clock and didn’t help either. They got two points at the same time and kept on coming back.”

“I love my team and do anything for them and what we accomplished is awesome. Great to be part of and we got the whole school into it and everyone rooting us on. I couldn’t say enough about my teammates who always picked me up, each other, fed off each other and stinks it had to end like this.”

“We have to put this season in perspective and I love this group that is special,” said McBreen. “Good character kids that really played hard for me and at the end of the day when we have the chance to sit back and reflect on what we did this year it was a special season and shouldn’t have come to an end but it was very special because a group of fine young men.”

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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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