Bonacum beats buzzer for NJAC Championship - Feb 27, 2017
In the final match-up of the 2016-2017 New Jersey Athletic Conference men's basketball tournament, Thomas Bonacum (6'6''-F) hit a buzzer beating half-court shot to lead the #1 seeded Ramapo College men's basketball (25-2) team to a 67-64 victory over the #3 seeded Gothic Knights of New Jersey City University (21-7). Ramapo takes their fourth NJAC Championship crown under the direction of Head Coach Chuck McBreen and earns the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Championship Tournament. This will be McBreen's sixth trip to the national tournament.
It came down to the wire as the game was tied at 64 with three seconds on the clock and the ball in Ramapo's hand. The Roadrunners ran the court and off a dish from Josh Ford, Bonacum drained a long three-point goal to give Ramapo their 25th win of the season. Bonacum finished the night with 20 points and nine rebounds and Sultan Aminu collected a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds as the team hit a combined 22-47 (47%). James Long (6'0''-PG) collected nine points and dished out three assists while Bonacum collected four assists of his own in the win.
NJCU opened the game with a long three from Sam Toney (6'4''-PF) but the Roadrunners responded with a 10-0 run to take a 10-3 lead with a jump shot from Aminu at 16:41. The Gothic Knights would come within four, 8-12 with a three from Ata Robinson (5'11''-PG) and a basket from Ford would put Ramapo on top 14-8 with 14:47 to go. The teams traded three point baskets in the next minute as Jalen Harris put NJCU within three, 14-17 with just under 14 to play. An and-one play from Joseph Kelley (6'0''-SG) and a basket from Chris Freeman (6'4''-PF) put the Gothic Knights within one point (24-25) with 7:16 on the clock and after trading baskets, NJCU would tie the game at 28 with a jump shot from Toney. James Julius (6'3''-SF) capped a 7-0 NJCU run with another three to take the lead 31-28 forcing Ramapo to talk it over. Back-to-back-to-back long shots from the Gothic Knights gave NJCU a 40-30 lead with 2:06 to go and with their tenth three of the game, NJCU took an 11-point (43-32) lead with 1:06 on the clock. At the buzzer, Toney hit his fourth three of the half to head into the locker room with NJCU leading, 46-35. Toney led NJCU with 14 points as the team hit 17-35 (49%). Ramapo was led by Bonacum in the half with 14 points. Ramapo hit 12-20 (60%) from the field.
Harris gave the Gothic Knights a 13-point lead at the start of the second half with a two-point goal at 18:36, but a 6-0 Ramapo run, capped with a three-pointer from James Long put Ramapo within seven, 43-50, forcing a NJCU timeout. Two-plus minutes later, Bonacum capitalized on an and-one play to come within five, 46-51 but back-to-back baskets from NJCU put the Gothic Knights on top, 55-46. Aminu followed with a dunk off a dish from Bonacum (48-55) forcing NJCU to take another time out. Out of the timeout, Ramapo strung together a 6-0 run to come within one, 54-55, but Harris answered with a three to go up four (58-54) with 6:23 to play. Long drained two long shots to take a 60-58 lead with 4:27 to go and after a timeout, three lead changes, and the game tied at 64 with three seconds to go, Bonacum hits a half court buzzer beating three to take the game, 67-64. Long led with nine points in the second half and Bonacum and Nick Stanek (6'5''-F) added six as the team went, 10-27 (37%) in the half. Harris collected a team leading eight points in the half as NJCU combined for 6-22 (27%).
Toney led all Gothic Knights with 16 points and James Julius collected 13 as the team went 23-57 (40%). Harris finished the night with 11 points and Chinwe Wosu (6'3''-PF) pulled down a team leading seven rebounds.
Courtesy of Ramapo Athletics
NJAC Tournament Final: Ramapo - NJCU 67-64
NJAC Tournament Semifinals:
Ramapo - Rowan 110-101
NJCU - TCNJ 77-69