At the Christmas break, the Dalton State Roadrunners (14-1) have compiled more wins than any other NAIA Division I men’s basketball team in the nation. Talladega, AL is right behind at 13-1.
“Our goal going in was to get a win and hold the bragging rights over the holidays,” said Roadrunner Coach Tony Ingle. “A winner is known for what he gives and a champion is known for what he gives up.”
“Each one of our players has bought into what we teach and has made personal sacrifices for the betterment of our basketball family,” Ingle added. “That’s exactly why the Roadrunners of Dalton, GA and Dalton State currently have more wins than ANY team in NAIA basketball.”
The only two unbeaten teams at this point are John Brown University of Siloam Springs, AK (11-0) and Freed Hardeman from Henderson, TN (7-0).
“We are only a basket at the buzzer (at Tennessee Wesleyan) away from joining only two teams who are undefeated,” Ingle said.
Dalton State earned the honor with an 84-73 win over Belhaven University (4-6) Saturday night in the Carpet City Christmas Classic at the Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center.
The Roadrunners ran out to a 23 point first half lead. The half-time lead was by 21 (53-32). Dalton State continued to build the lead. They went up by 29 points (64-35) before the Blazers began chipping away. Belhaven outscored Dalton State by 18 in the final eight minutes.
“A coach could not be more proud of a team that has over come so many challenges on a daily basis associated with starting a new program” said Ingle. “There is no way we could be where we are without the help of Dr. John Schwenn, Derek Waugh, our booster club, and the faithful support of Coach John Redman and all in the athletic department.”
Ricky Sears led the Roadrunners with 17 points and six assists; Demetrice Jacobs was close behind with 16 points, six assists, and nine rebounds; and Sean Tate had 14 points and six assists.
Anthony Hilliard scored nine, Preston Earle eight, Raheem Mosley seven points and seven rebounds, and Erich Allen scored seven. Belhaven’s Jordan Bedford had a game high 20 points.
Rebounding was close. The Roadrunners pulled down 43 and the Blazers 41. Dalton State earned 19 points off of turnovers to Belhaven’s two in the first half, but the tables turned in the second half. DS was limited to four points off turnovers while BU had 15.
In the early game Saturday, the Concordia Hornets (11-10) knocked Cumberland University (10-1) from the ranks of the unbeaten, 68-55. The Selma, Ala.,school had taken a 30-15 record into halftime.
Tavin Cummings led the Hornet with 20 points and seven rebounds. Alex Flagler led the NAIA Division I #23 ranked Bulldogs with 13 points and seven rebounds.
Next action for Dalton State will be on Monday, Dec. 30, when the birds play an exhibition game against Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tn.
The next DS home game will be against Reinhardt on Thursday, January 2 at 4:00 p.m. NAIA Division 1 #17ranked Faulkner, AL will visit on Saturday, January 4, also at 4:00 p.m.