The top-seeded Ramapo College Roadrunners defeated No. 4 seed William Paterson University Pioneers, 83-58, on Tuesday to advance to the New Jersey Athletic Conference finals against Rutgers-Newark on Friday.
After falling to William Paterson twice during the regular season, 65-64 and 61-60 respectively, the Roadrunners soared to a 25-point victory in the NJAC semifinal.
Ramapo head coach Chuck McBreen said that his team kept up their fast pace despite William Paterson’s game plan to slow down the game’s tempo.
“When we had 45 [points] at halftime, we knew it was at our pace,” McBreen said.
The Roadrunners scored another 38 points in the second half to secure the victory in front of a rambunctious crowd of Ramapo students.
McBreen credited the energetic crowd at the Bradley Center with providing extra energy for the team.
“It’s huge,” he said. “I’ve said this all along that if we had a good crowd tonight, being the sixth man, that our players would feed off that energy.”
The crowd was on their feet for most of the game and chants could be heard from the first to last buzzer. The Ramapo Rowdies section even booed William Paterson’s star player, Lance Brown, each time he touched the ball.
Brown registered 42 points in two games against Ramapo this season but was held to 10 on Tuesday night.
“I’ve never been this excited at a basketball game before,” said Ramapo College sophomore Mike Hausch, who watched from the Ramapo Rowdies section. “I’m literally sweating excitement.”
The Roadrunners will now take on the No. 2 seed, Rutgers-Newark, in the NJAC championship game. Rutgers-Newark defeated Richard Stockton by a score of 49-46 on Tuesday in Newark.
The NJAC championship game will take place on Friday night at the Bradley Center. Ramapo will seek their third NJAC championship and its first since the 2006-2007 season.
Like in the game against William Paterson, Ramapo will face a Rutgers-Newark team that defeated them in a close game late in the season. Ramapo lost to Rutgers-Newark, 72-69, on Feb. 6.
“They want to win the championship here, in front of our home crowd, and they want to get revenge on Newark,” McBreen said about the upcoming championship game.
Ramapo’s only three losses in NJAC games this season came twice against William Paterson and once from Rutgers-Newark.
After defeating William Paterson by 25 points in the semifinal game, the Roadrunners will look to defeat the only other team to hand them a NJAC regular season defeat and finish off the season as champions.