Men’s Basketball Earns 1st NJAC Win of Season

The Ramapo College men’s basketball team earned its first New Jersey Athletic Conference victory of the season with a 78-66 win over Rutgers-Camden on Wednesday.

Head coach Chuck McBreen said that the game and the season has had a different feel than last year, as the Roadrunners are trying to find a way to duplicate last season’s success, an NJAC championship title, with an entirely new cast of players. The Roadrunners graduated five starters last year, forcing younger players into bigger roles.

“Until everybody is on the same page with the style and philosophy, we’re going to grind games out. This is who we are, and that’s a good win for us based on who we are right now,” McBreen said.

One of those players is junior Loren Jackson, who helped lift the Roadrunners over the Scarlet Raptors with 12 points, nine of which came in the second half.

“He has it in him. We’ve watched him for two years now, playing a backup role, and now he has to take on a bigger role,” McBreen said. “At the second half, he really got it going. At the end of the game when we needed him to make plays, he made some plays and got some rebounds.”

Jackson had 12 points and gathered 10 rebounds to earn a double-double.  

The Roadrunners’ 0-3 start to the season is the worst start that McBreen and the Roadrunners have had since the head coach joined the program in 1998.

“That’s uncharted waters for me; this is all new,” he said. “The only thing that I know how to do when things are going bad is to get our guys to buy in and work harder.”

The Roadrunners entered the second half with a 43-31 lead, but Rutgers-Camden’s zone defense limited Ramapo to 35 points in the second half by keeping the Roadrunners to the outside and away from the paint.

“The zone slows us down. We want to get out, and we want to go and trap people and dictate the tempo of the game,” McBreen said.  “It’s something that we’ve got to get back to the drawing board and work on because teams that see this are going to want to play zone against us.”

The win improves Ramapo’s record to 2-3 overall and 1-2 in the NJAC. The Roadrunners will need to continue to improve their record if they want to capture consecutive NJAC titles. McBreen says that this year’s team certainly has the heart and the talent to compete, but that they will need to play more consistently for the entire game.

The Roadrunners’ next game will be on Saturday, when they host the Montclair Red Hawks in the Bradley Center at 3 p.m. Montclair is currently 1-1 in the NJAC.

“We’ve got to grind it out and bring the game to people. That’s what we’ve got to do against Montclair on Saturday,” McBreen said. “We’ve got to push up on them and get them full court, turn them over, and get the pace going up and down to take the play into our hands.”