The Dalton State Basketball Roadrunners defeated Reinhardt University (7-7) Thursday night at the Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center, 98-75.
The smallest home crowd of the year, 919, enjoyed a solid performance by the home team as they succeeded in following their coach’s orders to “put two halves together”. Eleven DS players saw action and nine scored.
The hosts scored the first six points and never looked back. They led by as many as 24 points in the first half (44-20 with 5:03 remaining) before finishing the half with a 19 point lead, 49-30.
The biggest lead of the second half was 25. It came at 94-69 with 4:46 left in the contest.
“I was real proud of them”, Dalton State coach Tony Ingle said of his team. “One of our deals was to put two halves together.”
It’s tough because we felt like we were a better basketball team than them,” Ingle said. “But man if they start hitting the three’s.”
Roadrunner leading scorer for the season Ricky Sears was held to seven points in the first half, but finished with a game high 24. Anthony Hilliard and Erich Allen had 16 points each off of the bench.
“It’s good to have Erich Allen in there,” Ingle said of the 6’7” sophomore who sat out the early part of the season with eligibility issues. “Erich gives us more scoring at the post and he also can come out.”
“Anthony’s an unsung hero,” added Ingle. “He will do whatever is best for the team. His quickness. He can finish at the basket. I don’t even know how he gets it through there.”
Demetrice Jacobs scored a dozen points for Dalton, Reheem Mosley 7, Preston Earle, Dylan Smith, and Galen Smith each dropped in six. Sean Tate had five.
Reinhardt’s Quinton Wood, guarded closely by Dalton’s Tate, was limited to 14 points. Wood had scored 36 points in a Reinhardt exhibition loss at NCAA Division I Coastal Carolina on December 14.
“Sean wanted wood,” Ingle said. Tate had guarded the Reinhardt star in AAU basketball and told the coach before the game that he could slow him down.
Wayne Swint scored 12 and Joseph Luke 10. The Roadrunners out rebounded the Eagles 46 to 36. Dalton State hit 18 of 29 free throws (62.1%) compared to 12 of 26 (46.2%) for RU.
Ingle said the Tuesday night non-counting exhibition game loss at NCAA Division one Austin Peay served as a wake up call for his Roadrunners.
“We’ve been to the woodshed, but it didn’t count against our record,” Ingle said. “Having those kids of emotions is something that you don’t want.”
The Roadrunners (15-1) now turn their attention to the best NAIA team they have played all year, Faulkner University (9-4) from Montgomery, AL.
The Eagles will come into Saturday’s 4:00 p.m. game as the #17 ranked NAIA Division I team in the nation. Ingle calls Concordia the best NAIA school he has seen all year. Faulkner defeated their Selma, AL neighbors 92-65 earlier in the season.
Other impressive Faulkner victories have come over #22 Martin Methodist, 72-63, and #25 Xavier of New Orleans, 62-53. They were defeated by #15 Freed-Hardeman, 92-89.
Saturday’s game will be broadcast live on Mix 104.5 FM in Dalton with live web stats during the game on the Dalton State athletics website, www.dsroadrunners.com.