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Ramapo College jumps to 2nd in NJAC with 77-65 win against Rowan

Ramapo College junior forward Bryant Quill said on the back of the Roadrunners warm-up jerseys is the motto, “Play For Each Other”; make one more pass and don’t be selfish. Facing off against a surging squad in the Rowan Profs, winners of six in a row and first place in the NJAC, Ramapo had its hands full at the Bradley Center on Saturday afternoon.

Rowan wasted no time going on an 8-0 run in the first half, taking a 21-20 advantage with less than 10 minutes remaining. With less than eight minutes left on the clock and Profs leading 23-22, Quill quickly tallied five of his 13 points, sparking an 8-0 run. Kashaun Barnes dropped in 13 of his game-high 20 points as the Roadrunenrs took a 40-33 lead into the intermission while shooting 50 percent from the floor.

“It was good to come off the bench and give a little spark for the team,” said Quill. “That is what we do for one another. We have a lot of talent that come off that bench and our bench outscored them by a good margin. It’s good to give the starters some rest because they play a lot of minutes and it is good to have guys contribute. Going out and being able to contribute, be healthy and help the team win is all that matters”

However, Rowan came out of the locker room a hungry bunch roaring out to another 8-0 run. After a timeout, Ramapo managed to settle their nerves and regain the lead on a lay-up from Rob McWilliams and Barnes drained a triple. With the score deadlocked at 45-45, the Roadrunners went on another big run, this time 9-0 capped off by Quill canning his second shot from beyond the arc. Head Coach Chuck McBreen shuffled his lineup in the second half, playing Quill, Andre Morgan and Connor Romano the majority of the time and the decision paid off as the trio scored 16 points all together. Leading by five with less seven minutes remaining, a 7-0 run boosted the advantage to 66-54 at the 2:57 mark.

The Profs refused to go away quietly, cutting the gap to less than 10 points but clutch free throw shooting by the Roadrunners sinking 9 of 11 from the charity stripe in the final minute in change, 13 of 18 in the second half and 19 of 26 overall sealed a fifth win in a row and 23rd straight at home. McWilliams finished with 11 points while Romano added 10 points. Ramapo limited Rowan to 20 points under the points per game average, 36,8% field goal shooting and 28.2% from three-point land. The Roadrunners won the rebounding battle 45 to 34, bench points 31 to 17 and forced 18 Profs turnovers that led to 22 points and buried 8 of 16 3’s.

Head Coach Chuck McBreen on the victory, “We know what Quill is capable of, he came from Division II and has nights where he comes and plays. He did some great things today; made some big shots, nice blocks and a big lift today. We went to him and Andre Morgan today and they defended today. Connor is getting better and better and more confident. He was a great high school player and this makes us so much more deeper”

“They upped their intensity level and we were not ready coming out of the half. We settled down and got the game back in control for while. Trading baskets and then we went on a run to get some separation and made some plays down the stretch to make it a free throw game and Rob McWilliams made six in a row. We know they we’re going to fire and went 6 of 28 3’s and shot 25 percent against our match-up zone that was really effective today and did it when we got back in the first half and stayed with it”

“They lead the conference in scoring, held them below their average and got 89 against us last time. If we do that we’re going to be in games and going to have a chance to win. It’s going to come down to defense, and rebounding and won the backboards today which was huge for us”

Kashaun Barnes on the win, “It was personal to get back at this game because they stole one from us. We played terriblly back then but showed a better effort today and now its all coming together for us because it takes so much off the starters.”

Next up for Ramapo (14-5, 9-4 NJAC) is a road game at Kean University (2-10, 4-15 NJAC) on Wednesday with tip-off set for 8:00 p.m. Back on December 5th the Roadrunners defeated the Cougars 80-67.

“Kean is a big game for us, we talked about getting five in a row to end the season and secure both number seeds in the NJAC and NCAA berth,” McBreen said. “So if we win five and go 1-0 each day we like the position we’re in. We beat teams that beat us and got revenge on two of them and we still got two of them to go on our court. If we do things that we’re capable of we could possibly get to 20-5 but we can’t look forward. Wednesday is a huge game and if we take it for granted we’re going to slip up, so we have to come to play and take care of business on the road”

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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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