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Ramapo College snaps losing skid in 81-78 win over William Paterson

Mired in a three-game losing streak, the Ramapo College Roadrunners returned to the Bradley Center for the first time since December 12, taking on William Paterson University (10-6, 5-4 NJAC). A pivotal match-up with the Pioneers ahead one game in the NJAC standings, Head Coach Chuck McBreen challenged his players to display better effort and energy after Wednesday’s defeat at New Jersey City University.

Both Kashaun Barnes (14 points) and Rob McWilliams (13 points) heard the message loud and clear in the first half scoring 27 of the 42 points tallied by Ramapo. The Roadrunners jumped out to an eight-point advantage with less than 11 minutes left. However William Paterson answered back with a 9-0 run taking their first lead of the game. The Roadrunners regained their mojo going on a 13-4 run and ended up with a 42-35 lead at halftime.

“Before the game I went up to Kashaun and said we need to bring the one-two punch back to the game,” said Rob McWilliams. “I haven’t been there the last couple of games and he has.”

In the second half, William Paterson came out of the locker room sizzling from beyond the arc while pounding the ball inside the paint. The Roadrunners were unable to contain Sean Smith, 9-of-19 from the field and draining 6 of 12 three-pointers. Smith had help from teammates Domenic Mignone with 19 points and SaintSimeon Beaubrun 11 points and 17 rebounds. A back and forth contest turned into William Paterson assuming a 64-59 lead with less than 10 minutes remaining. Ramapo climbed back thanks to a resounding 16-0 run that was capped off by McWilliams completing a four-point play after a sinking a trifecta. Just when it seemed the game was in hand with four minutes to go, the Pioneers stormed back cutting the deficit to 80-76 with 34 seconds to go while the Roadrunners went scoreless for two minutes. Jason Battle managed to drain one of two free throws with 18 seconds left. William Paterson still had an opportunity to send the game into overtime but missed a couple of shots as the buzzer sounded.

McWilliams finished with a game high 23 points while Barnes added 18 points, Matt Latka delivered 17 points, Jason Battle netted 11 points and Rob Lewis contributed 10 points. The Roadrunners shot 52 percent from the field while knocking down 20 of 29 free throws.

“We had our ups and downs, leading most of the way, then we go into a drought,” said McBreen. “We go down 64-59 but held them scoreless for the next four minutes then go on a 16-0 run. We go from four down to up by 12 with four minutes to go and do crazy stuff. Missing free throws, don’t have to score, stopped defending and rebounding and all of a sudden you turn the ball over on the last play. We made it more difficult than it’s supposed to be and have to be smarted down the stretch and finish halves and games better.”

“We got beat badly on the backboard offensively and if we’re not going to make the commitment to put bodies on people and block out it’s going to be a long season. We know what we have to do and have the talent in the locker room and matter of getting our guys to do it night in and out.”

“I talked to Rob (McWilliams) about what type of player he is and wondering where it’s been. He just had to get back his confidence and know what he is capable of. I told him we’re going as far as him, Barnes and Lewis. If Rob doesn’t give us the game he does today we probably lose.”

McWilliams on the victory, “I contributed as much as I could tonight and rest of the our teammates did a great job on defense and setting us up and Jason Battle did a great job at point guard and controlling the game. It could be anyone’s night, you have to come play a game of runs and back and forth. We know they are one of the best shooting teams’ in the league. The four-point play I just put it up and sometimes falls your way and happy to see it go.”

The Roadrunners (11-5, 5-4 NJAC) remain at home facing off against Rutgers-Newark (9-7, 2-7 NJAC) on Wednesday night with tip-off set for 7:30 p.m. at the Bradley Center. Back on November 20, Ramapo defeated the Scarlet Raiders 61-50.

“It’s going to be a grind, no one said it’s going to be easy but with stretch of home games we know how good we have been at home over the course of three to four years and in my 21 years,” McBreen said. “We have to continue to hold serve on home court and make the plays necessary to get where we want to go and get back in this race. Night in and out you have to come to play and id don’t you will get beat.”

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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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