The Dalton State College Roadrunners trailed for much of the second half, but hit key shots down the stretch to pull out an 85-84 win over Bethel (Tennessee) Saturday in Mashburn Arena at the Dalton Convention Center.
With the victory, the Roadrunners won their eighth game in a row and improved their season record to 15-1, 5-1 Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC). Bethel fell to 10-7, 2-4 SSAC.
Three Roadrunners scored in double-figures led by Kevon Tucker with 20 points. Randy Bell added 17 and six rebounds, while Sean Cranney scored 14 and had five assists.
Nine combined fouls in the first five minutes of play set the tone for the game. Even with all the early stoppages, the Roadrunners held a 10-8 lead. Consecutive buckets from Bell and Dauson Womack extended the Dalton State lead to six points (14-8), but Bethel battled back.
The Wildcats went on the attack just past the midway point with an 11-2 run to take a 29-20 lead. Dalton State answered with a 12-2 run following a timeout to retake the lead, 32-31, with 3:06 until halftime.
Neither team could break away from the other as the half wound down. The Roadrunners' Timothy Green hit the last bucket of the half with 17 seconds left to give Dalton State a 39-37 halftime advantage.
Bethel came out of the break and quickly grabbed the lead. They continued to hold the advantage throughout the half with the Roadrunners not letting them get too far out in front. The largest lead of the half for the Wildcats grew to 10 points with 7:39 remaining after Javonte Ellis slashed through the lane for a bucket.
Dalton State battled and finally broke through with three minutes remaining when C.J. Perry and Tucker hit back-to-back 3-pointers to cut the deficit to one at 80-79.
Still trailing by one-point (84-83), Sean Cranney went to the line with 17 seconds left and a chance to take the lead. He hit both shots to give the Dalton State the lead. Bethel got a couple of good looks down low, but Dalton State corralled the rebound as the buzzer sounded for the win.
Dalton State plays Tuesday at home as they face Fisk University (Nashville, Tennessee), which is coached by former NBA and Georgia Tech guard Kenny Anderson. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m.