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Ramapo College drops third in a row

Coming off a last second loss to TCNJ last Saturday, the Ramapo College Roadrunners looked to snap a two-game losing skid. It would not be easy on the road at New Jersey City University (11-4, 6-2 NJAC) Wednesday night. The last time Ramapo defeated the Gothic Knights was back in 2012.

Early on, the Roadrunners controlled the tempo of the game, jumping out to a five-point advantage seven minutes into the first half. Defensively, Ramapo held NJCU to 5-of-20 shooting from the field. However, the tide turned as the Roadrunners went scoreless for the next five minutes.

With the score tied at 18, the Gothic Knights seized control, going on an 11-2 run. A very physical and chippy contest ensued as Jordan Zagadou and Yuri Brutus got into a scuffle while battling for the ball as refs assessed a double technical foul against Zagadou and a minute later Kashaun Barnes was hit with a technical foul.  With Rob Lewis picking up his third foul with five minutes remaining, the duo of Sam Toney and James Julius went to work tallying 11 points each as NJCU led 46-29 at halftime and dominated in rebounds 30 to 18.

“It wasn’t very pretty, after a good start we got out to 16-11 led then we went into a five-minute drought from the 13 minute mark to 7:55 and they were able to get the lead,” said Head Coach Chuck McBreen. “I felt the game really got away was with five minutes left and down by eight Rob Lewis got his third foul that forced me to put him on the bench and he leads the NJAC in minutes played and double-doubles and we get outscored and go into the locker room down 17.”

“I felt it he has two fouls and stays on the floor we go into the locker room in a single digit game. Once you get down 17 it’s a pretty significant overcome down there.”

In the second half, NJCU broke the game wide open extending the advantage to 20 points not even a minute in. With both teams’ emptying their benches late the Roadrunners managed to get back into the game shooting 52 percent from the field and draining 14 of 21 free throws. However, the Gothic Knights held serve coasting to the 86-71 victory and led by Toney scoring a game high 17 points. Barnes led the Roadrunners tallying 15 points while Jason Battle added 14 and Lewis dropped in 11.

“We won the free throw line 30 to 15, field goal percentage 44 to 38 but they ended up getting 31 more shots than us and got 24 offensive rebounds to our 9 and we turned the ball seven or eight more times than they did,” McBreen said. You are not going to beat anybody if they have 85 shots and we have 54. We write on the blackboard our keys to victory and usually have five or six in order and priority in order to be successful that night. The first three were win the backboards, fourth take care of the ball and fifth win the turnover battle and we got our butts kicked in those areas.”

“The officiating allows Jersey City to play football and if you can’t match them playing football or enough skill to overcome. They flat out beat us up, we allowed it and physicality hurt us.”

After a two-day break, Ramapo (10-5, 4-4 NJAC) returns home to the Bradley Center for the first time since December 12 taking on William Paterson University with tip-off set for 3:00 p.m. on Saturday. In last year’s NJAC Tournament Championship Game the Roadrunners defeated the Pioneers. Currently William Paterson is 10-5 and one game ahead of Ramapo in the conference standings. The Pioneers average near 74 points per game, shoot a solid 47 percent from the field, 40 percent from the beyond the arc and have three players averaging double figures led by freshman Sean Smith at 18.2.

“We’re heading in the wrong direction, have not had a three-game losing streak in years and it’s uncharted territory for us,” said McBreen. “They are coming off getting blown out by 22 at home and we ended their season last year in the NJAC Finals so they are going to be gunning for us. Everyone thinks we are that Final Four team and have a target on our back. When we don’t bring it everyone else is going to bring it.”

“This game is huge, we talk about holding serve at home and if we are going to get back in this race it starts with the next two home games. We need to put together a three or four game winning streak to get back in this thing and are capable of and just need to clean up this mess and get guys to perform at a high level and give more effort.”

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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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