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Ramapo College breaks school record in win over Rowan University

(Photo by Jonathan Izquierdo - Double G Media)

(Photo by Jonathan Izquierdo – Double G Media)

The 2016-17 Ramapo College Roadrunners express kept on chugging along on Wednesday night at the Bradley Center, leading from start to finish and receiving a tremendous all-around game from junior forward Thomas Bonacum.

Bonacum scored 33 points and pulled down 11 rebounds as the Roadrunners (14-0, 8-0 NJAC) crushed Rowan University, 96-78. With their 14 straight win, the men’s basketball team shattered the school record for most victories to start a season by any sport at Ramapo College.

“This is unimaginable and never thought we would be here,” said Head Coach Chuck McBreen. “We knew we were good but what this team has done and I talk about clichés all the time but it took one game at a time to get to this point. The thing that makes this team so special is their unselfishness and don’t care who gets the credit as long as they win and that’s what makes them so special compared to all my other good teams’ and they play for one another.”

“It’s a huge accomplishment and one of the milestones and goals we had all year and plenty more to come,” said Bonacum. “A great core that is real deep and talented team. A great accomplishment for the school and all of the guys and very proud of them.”

After taking a 50-43 at halftime, the pace slowed down considerably with both teams’ having difficulty putting the ball in the basket early on. The Roadrunners first bucket did not occur until four minutes in. Bonacum dropped the hammer tallying 20 of his 33 points as Ramapo went on a decisive 13-2 run turning a five point margin into a 77-61 advantage with 7:45 remaining.

Unlike Saturday against TCNJ where the lead shrunk at the end of the game, the Roadrunners kept the gas on the pedal thanks in part to great ball distribution, inside presence in the paint and transition baskets. Ramapo’s tenacious defense held Rowan to 31 percent shooting in the second half and 26 percent from beyond the arc. The Profs came in scoring near 90 points a game and averaging 36 three-pointers. Ramapo held leading scorer Shawn Wilson to 13 points on 4 of 20 shooting from the field.

“We really talked about it halftime and do a better job of guarding them,” McBreen said. “We did our job defensively and when we opened it up got layup after layup. We played our game and they wanted to make it a track meet and didn’t want to play defense.”

“I just got involved offensively and saw that we were flat in the second half and needed to be more aggressive,” Bonacum said. “Sometimes my job is to distribute the ball and other times to score but whatever the team needs to win the game and we are all about playing for each other. Rowan plays a fast paced game with a small lineup and we were able to capitalize with me and Sultan(Aminu), arguably the best 4/5 along with TCNJ in the conference.”

The Roadrunners received balanced scoring with senior forward Sultan Aminu pouring in 15 points, junior forward Nick Stanek dropping in 14 points / 9 rebounds and freshman Patrick Peterson adding 10 points. Ramapo dominated the points in the paint 58-24.

Now, Ramapo turns it attention and focus to a critical conference match-up Saturday against No. #24 ranked New Jersey City University. The Gothic Knights record is 12-3 and 6-2 in the NJAC. Last season New Jersey City won the regular season championship and ECAC Metro/Upstate Tournament.

“I tell the guys always it’s the next game that is our biggest and Tommy does a great job as leader getting that across to our guys the only one on our plate is the next one and not worried about next week and worried about the next one,” said McBreen.”We got past Rowan and will worry about Jersey City next two days and get ourselves properly prepared.”

“It’s going to be a good game, a rivalry between us and every game is the biggest one of our lives and play one game at a time and one in front of us,” said Bonacum. “I try to preach it in the locker room and at practice.”

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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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