NEWARK, N.J. – Seniors Hussein Abdelmaksoud and Al’Don Muhammad combined for 38 points to lead Rutgers-Newark to a 72-69 upset of league-leading and No. 10 nationally-ranked Ramapo in a New Jersey Athletic Conference game in The Golden Dome Arena.
Abdelmaksoud had game-highs of 20 points and 13 rebounds while Muhammad netted 16 of his 18 points in the second period to snap the Roadrunners’ eight-game winning streak two days after Ramapo (20-3, NJAC 14-2) moved to No. 10 in the D3Hoops.com men’s basketball poll.
Rutgers-Newark’s NCAA stock also rose. In the first NCAA Atlantic Regional Poll released Wednesday, the Roadrunners ranked first and the Scarlet Raiders, fifth.
The victory boosted the Scarlet Raiders (17-6, NJAC 11-5) into sole possession of third place in the NJAC standings with two games remaining, guaranteeing either an opening round bye or home game in the upcoming six-team league championship tournament. Rutgers-Newark is a game behind Richard Stockton (17-5, NJAC 12-4) and a game ahead of Rowan (17-6, NJAC 10-6) heading into the final week of the season.
A deep 3-point buzzer beater by sophomore guard Doze Ikwuegbu gave the Raiders a 28-27 halftime edge as Rutgers-Newark closed out the period with a 13-4 run during the final 7:44.
There were three ties and four lead changes in the second period before Muhammad dropped in a pair of free throws with 10:36 left to give Rutgers-Newark the lead for good and start and 9-0 run. A Muhammad 3-point jumper was followed by pairs of free throws by Abdelmaksoud and sophomore swingman Christian Garcia to push the Raider advantage to 55-46 with 7:16 remaining.
Senior guard Will Sanborn nailed a pair of 3-pointers to key an 8-0 Roadrunner rally which trimmed their deficit to 71-69 with 25 seconds left. An offensive put back by senior forward Stephon Treadwell capped the run.
Ikwuegbu finished with eight points and three assists for the Raiders while Garcia tallied eight points and four rebounds. Freshman forward David Azoroh came off the bench for seven points four rebounds and a game-high three blocked shots.
Brown led Ramapo with 19 points and a dozen rebounds while Sanborn and LoRusso netted 14 points apiece. Senior guard Garret Thiel totaled 11 points, seven rebounds and five assists while Treadwell was held to nine points and eight rebounds.