Patriots ruin Roadrunners' Christmas Classic - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Patriots ruin Roadrunners' Christmas Classic

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DALTON, GA  (dsroadrunners.com)--The Dalton State Basketball Roadrunners only hit a couple of three-point-shots all night and only hit 27.5% (14-51) from the floor, but still had a genuine shot at coming away with a Saturday win over the University of the Cumberlands. The Patriots connected on 5-15 from long-range.

A battle between two excellent NAIA schools saw the Williamsburgh, Kentucky school edge Dalton State, 48-47, in the final game of the Booster Club's Holiday Classic. A Mashburn Arena crowd of 923 got their money's worth.

“The team competed their tails off for 40 minutes,” said Dalton State Coach Tony Ingle. “We were one defensive stop away from a victory and a happy holiday. We needed a few more baskets down the stretch to help us win a big game against one of the best teams in the nation.”

The Patriots jumped out to a 15-4 lead, but the Roadrunners pulled to within three (23-20) with 3:25 left in the half. A three from the Patriot's Michael Dow gave the visitors a 26-20 lead.

Cumberlands (11-4) scored the first basket of the second half to go back up by eight. The Roadrunner chipped away at the Patriot lead and finally went out on top 31-30 with 15:50 left in the contest.

Dalton State had several late leads thanks to clutch free throw shooting. Jordan Bowling's two free throws with 1:59 left to move the Roadrunners to within one (46-45) and Sean Tate went to the line with only nine seconds remaining to put DS up by one (47-46).

Cumberland's Xavier Owens hit the game winning shot with less than two seconds remaining. Ladaris Green missed a prayer from mid-court as the clock ran out. The Patriots took the one point victory.

“I thought I was going to seal the deal,” Tate, who was 7-7 at the line, said of the final two free throws. “He (Owens) just made a heck of a shot from the corner over 6-10 Ladaris Green.”  

Dalton State was a perfect 17-of-17 from the free throw line. The University of the Cumberlands was five-for-10. Cumberlands had 14 points off turnovers to the Roadrunner's seven and pulled down three more rebounds (39-36).

“They were a really good basketball team,” said Tate, “Coach said before the game that they are a national tournament team that would be real physical. It was two good teams going up against each other and they just got the best of us tonight.”

Tate and Green each scored 13 points. Green was 4-4 from the free throw line and 1-1 from three. He also completed the double-double with 11 rebounds.

Anthony Hilliard 10 points and Jordan Bowling added nine points and six rebounds. Preston Earle was limited to a single basket. The shooting guard was 1-8 from the floor including 0-5 from beyond the arch. The Roadrunner bench saw limited playing time and accounted for no points.  

Fans who came for two games really got their money's worth. Saturday's first game was just as exciting. Concordia from Selma, AL surprised NAIA representative Cumberland University of Lebanon (TN), 51-48.

Concordia had jumped out to a 30-15 lead only to see the Bulldogs come from behind to take their only lead of the contest at 41-39.

The Hornets regained the lead and were never even tied again. Dennis Miles of Concordia had a game high 23 points and nine rebounds.

Dalton State (10-2) is off until Friday, January 2nd at 7:30 p.m. EST when the Roadrunners host their first ever Southern States Athletic Conference game. They have two SSAC games that weekend.

The University of Mobile are 4-6 overall and winless in two conference games. The Rams have lost to Blue Mountain (Miss) 64-56 and to Bethel (TN) 66-59.

Belhaven University from Jackson (Miss) will visit Mashburn Arena on Saturday, January 3rd at 5:00 p.m. EST. The Blazers are also a member of the SSAC. The Roadrunners did play Belhaven at home and away last season before they were playing counting conference games.

Belhaven (4-10, 0-2) has defeated future conference foe Middle Georgia College, 77-60. Middle Georgia's games this year don't count in conference standings. The Blazers have lost to SSAC representatives Brewton-Parker (GA) 83-85 and Faulkner (Miss), 77-71. They play Martin Methodist in Pulaski (TN) on the 2nd.

Life University has already become an exciting opponent for Dalton State's young basketball program. The Running Eagles will be at Mashburn Arena on Tuesday, January 6th at 7:30 pm.

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