(dsroadrunners.com) DALTON, Ga. – Dalton State came into their game with #10 Stillman (Ala.) with a good gameplan, but 22 turnovers would doom the Roadrunners in the end as the Tigers held on for a 72-68 win in Southern States Athletic Conference action at Mashburn Arena in Dalton on Thursday night.
THE FIRST HALF
The visiting Tigers jumped out to an early 6-0 with Prince McDaniel and Ravion Henry doing all of the scoring. Dalton State got back into the game on the back of Elijah Staley who had 7 of the Roadrunners first 11 points. A Staley free throw with 14:21 left gave Dalton State the lead, but it was brief as McDaniel hit a three less than a minute later to retake the lead, 13-11.
Both squads started to match the other bucket-for-bucket for the next five minutes with Stillman continuing to hold on to a slim lead. A three from Sean Cranney at the 8:56 mark followed by a runner in the lane from Kingston Frazier gave the Roadrunners a four-point lead at 25-21.
Giovanni Bray and Daquan Forrest combined for the next seven points as Stillman re-took the lead 27-25. The Roadrunners answered right back with another three from Cranney to take a one-point advantage. The lead swapped hands two more times in the half as both teams went right at each other.
The half featured 10 lead changes and 10 ties, the last of which came with 1:22 remaining on the clock after a Derrick Finklea bucket tied the game at 36-36. Dalton State had a chance to take the lead with 34 seconds left, but a Malik Pugh turnover turned into two points the other way for Bray. The Roadrunners got one more chance to tie or take the lead at the end of the half, but a Pugh layup bounced off the rim as Stillman took a 38-36 lead into the break.
THE SECOND HALF
Both teams hit a three pointer to open the second half. First, it was McDaniel from Stillman. Then, the answer came from Sean Chislom on the other end. The Tigers turned up the intensity, but the Roadrunners held their own and slowed the game down.
The strategy continued to work as Dalton State gained the lead, 47-46, with 12:02 to go after a Randy Bell basket and foul by Stillman. Bell drew a foul on the play, but couldn’t convert the and one. The Tigers pushed down court and got a hoop in the paint from Ravion Henry to give the Tigers a one-point lead at the media timeout.
It was all Dalton State coming out of the media TO. It started with a Cranney three, then a second chance bucket from Staley. Next, was another Cranney trey to give the Roadrunners a 55-48 lead with 10:39 remaining. Stillman came right back with six straight to cut the lead to one. DS continued to hold a slim lead over the next four minutes of play.
Henry and Dantaveous Crawford combined for four-straight points as Stillman grabbed the lead, 61-60, with 6:17 left in the contest. Coming down the stretch, the Roadrunners got big buckets from Chislom and Staley to take a two pint lead with 1:51 to play. A huge three-pointer from Forrest gave the Tigers a one-point lead at 67-66 with 1:31 on the clock.
The Roadrunners had their chances as the seconds ticked off, but could not connect on a shot. Stillman had trouble converting from the charity stripe when Dalton State was forced to foul and kept the Roadrunners in the game. Bell got one to fall with five seconds left, but it was too late as Stillman hit just enough shots from the free throw line to hold on for a 72-68 win.
THE REST OF THE STORY
Dalton State falls to (11-9 overall, 6-6 SSAC) with the loss, while #10 Stillman (Ala.) improves to (18-2 overall, 10-2 SSAC) with the win. Seniors Elijah Staley and Sean Chislom led Dalton State with double-doubles. Staley had 23 points and 15 rebounds, while Chislom recorded 11 points and 12 boards. The last Roadrunner to post double-figures was Sean Cranney with 16 points, including four three pointers.
Ravion Henry led Stillman with 21 points, playing all 40 minutes. Giovanni Bray had 17 points, while SSAC leading scorer Prince McDaniel notched 15 points. Leon Hampton had a big game on the boards pulling down 13.
The Roadrunners pounded the glass out-rebounding the Tigers 55-36. Twenty-three of those came on the offensive side, but Dalton State managed only 23 second chance points. DS also came away with the advantage in the paint, 22-9, and bench points 35-25.
The biggest difference in the game was turnovers. Stillman committed only nine, whereas Dalton State handed it over 22 times. It led to 22 points off turnovers for the Tigers. In all, the game featured 18 lead changes and 11 ties with neither team gaining the by more than seven points.
The Roadrunners will continue their two-game home stand on Saturday, January 26 when they matchup with Mobile (Ala.) on Homecoming 2019. Tip-Off is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. at Mashburn Arena.