In a hard fought Championship game, a late William Carey three would be the dagger as #16 Dalton State fell to #12 William Carey (Miss.), 83-76, at Cramton Bowl Multiplex in Montgomery, Ala. on Saturday night.
It would be the Roadrunner who would jump out early to a quick 5-2 lead after a three-pointer from Isaiah Box. A quick 7-0 run from William Carey would see them take control with a 12-8 lead. William Carey would hold the advantage for much of the first half.
Dalton State would get things rolling and pull within one at 31-30 after an Alex Ho-on put back off a missed layup.
The final 3:30 would be a scrap with both teams trading baskets. Carey would get a Quinton Williams bucket to fall to give them the 38-36 lead heading into the half.
Dalton State would spurt a 10-6 run to start the second half and take a 46-44 lead. William Carey would answer with three-pointers from John Cornish and Jaylen Moore to take the lead back, 52-50. Dalton State and William Carey would trade the lead five more times down the stretch. With the game tied at 66-66, Quinton Williams would hit a clutch three to give the Crusaders the lead with 3:15 remaining.
Both teams would trade baskets with the clock dwindling. Carey's Troy Salvant would hit the dagger, a three-pointer with 41 seconds left to give William Carey a five point lead. Dalton State would fight back, but the Crusaders would hit their shots from the charity stripe and claim the victory, 83-76.
Dalton State falls to (24-8 overall, 14-4 SSAC) with the loss, while #12 William Carey (Miss.) improves to (25-5 overall, 15-3 SSAC) with the win. Reed Dungan and Isaiah Box led the way for the Roadrunners with 23 points each. Box added three assists and three steals in the loss. Carnilious Simmons was neutralized with foul trouble and held to six points and six rebounds.
Troy Salvant led the Crusaders with 20 points. Maurice Stephens and John Cornish added 17 and 14 points respectively.
Dalton State will get some much need rest before heading West for the NAIA National Tournament in Kansas City, Mo. The Roadrunners will find out their seed on March 7 at 7:00 p.m. during the NAIA Selection Show.