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Ramapo College home winning streak ends in loss to TCNJ

Coming off a disappointing loss at Kean on Wednesday night, the Ramapo College Roadrunners looked to turn things around returning to the Bradley Center on Saturday afternoon against TCNJ (13-6, 9-6 NJAC) while attempting to extend their undefeated home winning streak to 24 in a row.

Just as Kean did shooting the lights out from downtown against the Roadrunners, TCNJ came out smoking from the get-go from beyond the arc. Held to four points in the first meeting between the teams’, Lions guard Niall Carpenter put on an offensive showcase and display knocking down four triples and scoring 14 of his 18 points in the first half.

Down 18-13 with less than 11 minutes remaining in the first half, Ramapo mounted a response led by Jordan Zagadou tallying nine points going on a 11-4 run taking a 24-22 led with less than six minutes to go on the clock. However, the Lions continued to sizzle from three-point land burying five more trifecta’s finishing on a 15-4 run to go up 37-28 at the break.

Limited to three points in the first half, TCNJ guard Randy Walko caught fire tallying 21 of his game high 24 points including draining four three’s as the Lions extended the margin quickly to double digits at 40-30. The Roadrunners answered back once again, getting the starting nod in place of Matt Latka junior forward Andrew Morgan poured 8 of his 10 points on the day. Scoreless in the first half, Kashaun Barnes heated up pumping in nine points as Ramapo cut the gap to four points at the 15-minute mark.

TCNJ continued to inflict damage from long range sinking four more trey’s expanding their lead to 57-46 with less than 10 minutes remaining. The Lions largest margin occurred at 61-49 with eight minutes to go. Connor Romano gave the Roadrunners a brief spark canning back-to-back triples making it a 65-64 with less than three minutes to go.

For the second straight game, Ramapo had difficulty taking care of the ball and executing plays plus scoring just one point the rest of the way. Shooting 72 percent from the free throw line, the Roadrunners struggled from the line in the second half hitting only 10 of 16 and overall 11 of 18 compared to 30 of 35 against Kean.

TCNJ sank their free throws in the final minutes for the 73-65 victory, sweeping the season series thus ending the Roadrunners undefeated home winning streak at the Bradley Center. Rob Lewis notched his 12thdouble-double of the season with 13 points and 13 rebounds.

Head Coach Chuck McBreen on the defeat to TCNJ, “It was pretty much the entire second half, we got it down to four and turned it over. We get in reach, make a little run and looks like they’re going to collapse and we get a stop. Our lack of execution and we didn’t guard the three-point line. They didn’t shoot a high field goal percentage but killed us in three’s with 15 out of 37. We won every stat points and difference in the game three-point line.”

“At the end of the first half, we were up 24-22, they hit a bunch of three’s and two of them were lucky with one of them hitting the front of the rim and wen in and other one hit from deep. Every time we made a run we couldn’t get over the hump but had it at 4 four or five times but due to our turnovers and mistakes.”

Currently the Roadrunners (15-7, 9-6 NJAC) are in a three-way tie for third place in the NJAC standings. Next up for Ramapo is an away game at Rutgers-Camden (2-20, 2-13 NJAC) on Wednesday night with tip-off set for 8:00 p.m.

“If we don’t figure this out, we’re not going to win another game,” McBreen said. “If we don’t figure out as coaches how to get them to play there is a good chance we will blow this thing and not make the playoffs. Now they have been hit with some adversity and not responding well. We got two tough road games and Jersey City at home and haven’t secured anything yet. At times we have been resilient, down 19 at TCNJ and 17 at Kean and ability to come back except for NJCU and Montclair State games and been very resilient.”

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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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