The Roadrunners men’s basketball team was looking to extend its playoff push in a road game on Saturday afternoon against Rutgers-Camden in a win or go-home scenario. The Roadrunners came into Saturday one game behind New Jersey University in the loss column for the number six seed in the New Jersey Athletic Conference playoff bracket. The Roadrunners also had to win the last two regular season games including this one, in addition to hoping that New Jersey City University loses its last two regular season games, to have a shot at playing in the postseason.
They lost the game 80-72 and the men’s basketball team saw its playoff hopes disappear for the second straight season.
“Well, first game, we didn’t have Tommy Bonacum,” said Ramapo’s 17th year head coach Chuck McBreen. “Tommy is second in our team in minutes played, and he’s a guy we need out on the floor. He’s fifth in the NJAC in minutes played, so he’s important for us, he’s got a real high basketball IQ and last game we fell behind by 14 at half and got killed on the backboards without Tommy, and Tommy is second in the conference in rebounding so that really hurt us and then we came all the way back and took a one-point lead with two and a half minutes to go.”
Just like the last time these two teams met back on Jan. 17 at the Bradley Center, four Roadrunners reached double-figures in points. Team captain, junior Frank Nock, the Roadrunners’ leading scorer, averaging 16.3 points per game, scored a team high of 18 points on 6-16 (37.5 percent) shooting to go with five rebounds and two assists. Freshman forward Thomas Bonacum, who did not play in the Jan. 17 game against Rutgers-Camden, posted his eighth double-double of the season, reaching double digits in points and rebounds with 13 and 10 respectively.
Sophomore forward Jermaine Peart, who did not score any points in the first meeting, scored 11 points on 5-6 (83 percent) shooting. Freshman forward Ve’Shawn Polite, who scored a game high 26 points in the first meeting, scored only 11 points in this meeting. The Roadrunners outrebounded the Scarlet Raptors 44-28 and converted nine points off nine Scarlet Raptor turnovers. The Roadrunners shot 26-53 (49 percent) from the floor, 2-9 (22 percent) from beyond the arc and 18-25 (72 percent) from the free throw line.
Senior guard Wyatt Polk, the Scarlet Raptors’ leading scorer this season, did not play in the first meeting and is averaging 21.3 points per game. In Saturday’s game, he was the highest scorer with 25 points on 11-27 (40.7 percent) shooting. He also led the Scarlet Raptors in rebounds with eight. Junior guard Julian Martin finished with 13 points on 5-9 (56 percent) shooting while seniors Alex Smart and Teon Russell finished with 10 points and four rebounds apiece.
The Scarlet Raptors went 29-65 (45 percent) from the field, 7-25 (28 percent) from three-point territory and 15-21 (71 percent) on foul shot attempts. The Roadrunners drop to 13-10 on the season and 7-10 in New Jersey Athletic Conference games, thus eliminating them from playoff contention with New Jersey City University winning their game at Montclair State University as the Roadrunners drop two games back in the loss column. Meanwhile, Rutgers-Camden improves its record to 13-11 on the year and 7-10 in the NJAC, tying Ramapo for seventh place in the NJAC standings.
Pregame, the Roadrunners’ team captain Nock emphasized playing with effort.
“Obviously, it just all depends on what team will come out and play,” said Nock. “If it’s the team that came out against Stockton, we’ll be fine without a doubt, but if it’s the team that has come out lazy, don’t want to put no effort, where it’s hard, then we’re going to be in another dogfight like last time.”