McKenzie, TN. (
– The (6) Dalton State Basketball Roadrunners (24-2, 14-2 SSAC) escaped a 92-89 nail-biter with SSAC (22) Bethel (20-8, 10-6) Saturday at Crisp Arena. Dalton State finished the night with five players scoring in double figures.

The Roadrunners were down 89-88 with 31.9 seconds left in the game. That's when the Wildcats fouled point guard Sean Tate, not once but twice. Tate made two free throws to put Dalton State up by one, 90-89.

After a miss by Bethel, Ladaris Green pulled down the last of his 17 rebounds on the night and quickly got the ball to Tate who was hacked as he got past mid-court. Tate hit two more free throws for the final three-point Roadrunner victory.
He finished with 13 points (7-8 foul shots) and four assists.

“Sean is like a Timex watch,” Coach Tony Ingle said of Tate. “He takes a beating and keeps on ticking.”

Dalton State had led by two at the half, 52-44. They scored the first basket after intermission to go up by ten. Bethel still had plenty of fight. The Wildcats scored the next ten points to tie the game at 54.

It was close the remainder of the game. Jamaine Burrey came off the bench again to lead Dalton State in scoring. He hit 8-11 from the field including 4-5 from beyond the arch and added 4 for 4 from the free throw line to tally 24 points.

Green scored 21 points to complete the double-double. He also blocked three Wildcats shots. Jordan Bowling had 19 points (8/10 free throws) and seven rebounds. Preston Earle added 11 points.

Both teams shot the lights out from the field on Saturday. The Roadrunners were
29 – 60 from the field (48.33%) and 11 – 20 from beyond the arch (55%). Bethel was 36 – 72 from the field (50%) including 10 – 18 from long distance (55.56%).

Dalton's free throwing shooting continues to be exceptional. They were 23 of 27 for 85.19%. The Wildcats were 7 of 16 for 43.75%. Bethel won the rebound total (40-35).

Caleb Hardy scored 23 points and had eight rebounds for the hosts. Jonathan Williams scored 14, Cole Nelson had 11, Gary Pollard nine, and Justin Williamson and Mikel Terrance each added eight.

“We are elated over the great team win,” Ingle said. “They trust each other in tight situations. Out team has been through a lot of adversity the past couple of days and they just keep taking negatives and turning them into positives.”

The team's charter bus was involved in a weather related accident following a brief Friday practice and a wrecker called to the scene on the Bethel campus was delayed due to a an 18-wheeler accident.

After sitting for hours, Bethel campus police carried assistant coaches John Redman and Tony Ingle to two gas stations for food. Everything else in the small town was closed. “They don't have a Waffle House,” Coach Ingle said.

The wrecker arrived and pulled the bus back on the road. They followed the wrecker toward the hotel where the assistants were waiting with the food. The wrecker got stuck on a small hill with black ice.

After waiting for hours again, the bus driver began backing down the road and was stuck again. At around midnight, it began to rain and the bus driver was able to free the vehicle.

“We didn't want to chance getting stuck again, so we skipped the (Saturday) shoot around and stayed at the hotel,” said Ingle. “When we get on the bus we find out the time had been moved up an hour and we had very little time to get ready for the game.”

“They spoiled out homecoming and we spoiled their senior night,” Ingle added. “The 2-3 zone was a success in so many ways and I love these guys for believing in our coaching and striving their best to execute it with very little practice.”

The victory marked the 50
win in two seasons for Coaches Ingle, Redman, and Ingle Jr.

Congratulations to the coaches and players,” said Dalton State Athletic Director Derek Waugh. “No one has lost sight or takes for granted what all of our coaches and players are doing as a department in one of the best conferences in the country. I could not be more proud or appreciative.”

The conference leading Roadrunners will finish the regular season at home. Coastal Georgia visits Mashburn Arena Thursday night, February 26
, at 7:30 p.m. followed by senior night against Brewton-Parker Saturday, February 28
at 5:00 p.m.