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Ramapo College Holds off Late Challenge by Farmingdale State College

Playing their last game before the Christmas holiday, the Ramapo College Roadrunners hit the road on Saturday afternoon at Farmingdale State College. Leading 12-11 with less than 14 minutes remaining in the first half, Rob McWilliams drained a trey that sparked a 13-0 run. Ramapo did not step off the gas pedal, building a 45-25 advantage at halftime shooting a sizzling 55.9-percent from the field.

McWilliams tallied 14 of his 18 points, while Rob Lewis added ten points, and Kashaun Barnes chipped in with 9 points. The Roadrunners defense stepped us as well, limiting the Rams to 29.4-percent field goal shooting and 3 of 18 from beyond the arc.

“Besides the Gordon game it was the most complete half of basketball we played all year,” said head coach Chuck McBreen. “It was important we get off to a good start. We did some really good things in taking care of the basketball, made shots and defended the three. Best game Rob McWilliams has played in awhile, he got back to his old self with 18 and nine (rebounds) and we needed it. He started the season with a bang but has fizzled a little bit but got back to what he was doing early on.”

In the second half, the Roadrunners offense tailed off, shooting just 41 percent that allowed Farmingdale State College to get back into the contest. The Rams trimmed the deficit to nine with four minutes left and then down to six with two minutes. However, Ramapo managed to hit nine out of ten free throws to seal the 74-60 victory. Barnes led the team in scoring with 23 points, while Lewis recorded his second straight double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. The Roadrunners dominated the points in paint 42-20, while outscoring Farmingdale State College in points off turnovers 21-15.

“We did a terrible job in the second half allowing them to shoot 38 percent from the three-point line and let them get back in the game,” McBreen said. “We blew a 20-point lead and they cut it to six with two minutes to go and we won by 14 but we didn’t make it easy for ourselves. A tale of two opposite halves and one half where we score 45 and other struggled to score 29.

“We didn’t know if Rob Lewis was going to play because he pulled his groin in the Rutgers-Camden game and sat out practice on Thursday and limited on Friday but he played all 40 minutes. Points in the paint a big part of the way we play and only took eight three’s the whole game.”

Next up for Ramapo College (9-2, 4-2 NJAC) is the Classic in Las Vegas, facing off against Husson University and Linfield College. Last year in the tournament the Roadrunners dropped both games.

“Hopefully we can get the injuries healed up and ready to go in two weeks in Vegas,” said McBreen. “We need to get more consistent and find a way to build on the positives and fix the weaknesses. The guys are starting to buy into the philosophy and what we have to be successful. You can’t always be perfect but take advantage of what you do good.

“Last year, we lost both games for the first time in our program, we have a tough road in front of us and take one game at a time. I don’t know what to make of this team yet but if you had asked me before this year if I could be at 9-2 at this point and signed for it I would have said in a second. This team has had to overcome a lot more and give them credit for resiliency. It hasn’t been pretty but just able to go 1-0 on game day.”

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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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