MAHWAH, NJ – Despite a team-high 24 points from senior forward Aaron Samuel (Stratford, CT) while shooting a scorching 9-for-11 from the field, the Western Connecticut State University men's basketball team was edged at non-conference foe Ramapo College, 83-80, on Friday night. Classmate Rashard Rodriguez (Trumbull, CT) chipped in with 15 points, while junior guard Ronald Jefferson (Brooklyn, NY) added five steals for the Colonials.
Rob McWilliams led the Roadrunners with a game-high 27 points, while Kashaun Barnes tacked on 25.
The visitors opened the contest with a 15-8 advantage capped with a Jefferson three-pointer. However, the hosts clawed their way back into the game, knotting the score at 15-15 when Barnes scurried down the lane for a layup. The lead would change hands several times in the remainder of the first half before Ramapo went into the break up, 48-42.
The Roadrunners stretched the lead to nine points in the second half when Rob Lewis sank a free throw attempt after being hacked on a basket underneath. The Colonials would respond with a 9-1 spurt, cutting the lead to 64-63 when Rodriguez countered with a three-point play of his own.
WestConn would regain a 71-70 advantage with 5:34 left to play when Samuel connected on a pair from the charity stripe. However, McWilliams countered with a pair of free throws to give Ramapo back the lead for good with 5:09 to go. Jefferson would drain a three-pointer with four seconds remaining, slicing the deficit to 81-80. The Colonials would quickly foul and Barnes converted the ensuing two free throws to make it 83-80. Jefferson fired a three-point attempt at the buzzer but the ball would not find the twine.
With the loss, WestConn moved to 0-1 overall, while Ramapo improved to 1-0. The Colonials return to action for their home opener against non-league opponent New Paltz on Tuesday at 7 p.m.