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Ramapo College surges past Stockton 89-60

For Ramapo College senior forward Thomas Bonacum the 2017-18 season has been a struggle with his scoring average down from 17.1 last season and only one game scoring in single digits to 12.9 this season and five games scoring in the single digits. However, the last four games Bonacum has strung together double figures in points scored.

“Just trying to get my confidence back, a rough start to the year and Coach (McBreen) got on me for the right reasons and know I have to step up and did that today,” said Bonacum.

On Saturday afternoon at the Bradley Center against Stockton University, Bonacum tallied his second highest scoring output of the year with a game-high 20 points. Holding on to a 16-14 lead with 10 minutes remaining in the first half, sophomore guard Rob McWilliams contributed five points in the span of 17 seconds as the lead grew to 25-17 and senior forward Nick Stanek buried a trey bumping the margin up to double digits at 28-18 with less than seven minutes to go. The Roadrunners continued to maintain a sizable advantage up 41-26 at the intermission while shooting almost 55 percent from the perimeter.

In the second half, the Ospreys came out of the locker room with more intensity led by Zavon Johnson scoring 17 of his game high 21 points slicing the deficit down to 47-39 with 16 minutes left. A key sequence in the contest occurred as a technical foul was assessed against Stockton head coach Scott Bittner, Bonacum drained both free throws boosting the lead back up to 51-39.

Stockton refused to go away quietly but freshman guard Deon Hale sank two trifecta’s extending the lead to 65-51 with 10:31 left. A very physical game ensued the rest of the way including double technical fouls assessed against Johnson and Ramapo senior guard Josh Ford after Johnson was fouled on a layup attempt. Despite the altercation between both teams, the Roadrunners kept their composure the rest of the way knocking down free throws and emptied the bench with less than two minutes left on the clock.

Stanek contributed with 13 points while Ford added 10 points as Ramapo extended its winning streak to four wins in a row. The Roadrunners dominated the boards outrebounding Stockton 47 to 34 and winning points in the paint 36-18 while holding Ospreys leading scorer Kashaun Barnes to 6 points.

“We won the bench 33 to 15, Matt Latka, Connor (Romano) and Deon (Hale) came in and knocked down two 3’s,” said Head Coach Chuck McBreen. “So at the end of the day guys stepped up and did their job. They cut it to eight and with a lot more energy to start the second half. When the energy went south, guys came in and stepped up and bug for us and able to separate.”

“We felt we could win the battle on the glass and big part of what we do and in the second half took charge on the offensive boards. It got chippy out there but got us going and motivated.”

Bonacum on the team’s performance, “When we all can play well, we’re a scary team and guys coming off the bench making shots helps out tremendously. Jimbo (Long) couldn’t play today and one of our leaders and guys stepped up and played well. We know they were going to come out and make some tough shots and that’s what happens in basketball and we were able to limit their runs and go on one of ours. Going to get chippy but kept everybody composed and I try do that as a leader and focus on the game.”

With the victory over Stockton, Ramapo improved to 14-4, 10-1 NJAC on the season, maintaining a one game lead over TCNJ in the conference and remained perfect at home with a 7-0 record. Next Wednesday, the Roadrunners travel to Montclair State University (13-5, 7-4 NJAC). Back in November Ramapo emerged victorious 70-56 at the Bradley Center.

“All we want to do is go 1-0 in the next game and build our resume and hopefully secure the number one seed and want the championship to go through here like last year and make us tough to beat,” McBreen said. “They (Montclair State) play really strong inside , tough, physical and have a really good freshman guard (Myles Mitchell-White) that will probably get rookie of the year and have our hands full come Wednesday.”

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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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