Nov. 4—The Dalton State College basketball team went cold at the wrong time in Thursday night's home opener against Fisk University.
Luckily for the Roadrunners, the lead they built before that cold streak was just big enough — when paired with a handful of late defensive plays — to survive a late push by the visitors.
Dalton State survived a 9-0 run from Fisk in the game's final few minutes to hang on for a 61-55 win.
Dalton State (3-1) was the hot team for much of the latter portion of the second half.
Fisk (0-1) had whittled an eight-point halftime advantage for Dalton State to 42-38 with 12:46 to play.
Thanks to a pair of 3-pointers from Jaelin Ferrell and one from Jake Martinson, the Roadrunners began to run away.
Jacquez Fountain even hit a deep 3 as the shot clock expired, only hoisting when a yell of "shoot it!" from his teammates alerted him to the waning clock.
A two-handed dunk from Carterius Evans punctuated an 18-8 run that appeared to put the Roadrunners back in control with 3:39 to play and a 60-46 lead.
Dalton State wouldn't score again until the closing seconds.
After Evans' dunk, Fisk coach Kenny Anderson, the former player at Georgia Tech who played in the NBA from 1991 to 2005, called a timeout.
The visiting Bulldogs switched to a full-court press and grabbed a pair of steals and easy baskets.
A 3-pointer with 2:01 to go had the lead down to 60-55.
The Roadrunners recovered, despite giving up the nine straight points, to play defense and close out the win. Sean Cobb rejected a would-be layup with just over a minute to play, and Dalton State forced a turnover.
After Fisk's Ralph Davenport was off the mark on a 3-pointer with 13 seconds left that could have cut the gap to two, Cobb grabbed the rebound and hit a free throw after being fouled.
A last-second heave was off the mark for Fisk.
Dalton State never trailed in the game, or gave up the lead, despite the close final margin.
Dalton State jumped out to an 8-2 early lead and never let Fisk erase the advantage or tie the game.
Eleven first-half points from Ferrell, who hit four from 3-point range and led the team with his 19 points, helped the Roadrunners build the lead to double-digits before it was trimmed to 33-25 at halftime.
After Fisk started to slowly chip away at the advantage in the second, Dalton State held the Bulldogs off just enough — the lead never got less than four — for that hot-shooting 18-8 run later in the half.
The 60-46 advantage with 3:39 left marked Dalton State's largest lead of the game at 14.
Ferrell was helped out on the score sheet by Evans, who scored 10 and added eight rebounds, a pair of blocks and three steals. Cobb had nine points and corralled 10 rebounds. Donavan Miller scored seven of his nine before halftime.
Fisk's Blake Goodman scored 21 to lead the game, while Davenport and Jamon Reed scored 12.
Led by Ferrell's 4-for-5 mark, the Roadrunners shot better from behind the arc than inside it, hitting on 9-of-20 from 3-point range. Dalton State was 13-for-35 from two.
After the 3-1 start, Dalton State is idle until Nov. 14, when the Roadrunners again play Fisk, this time on the road in Nashville, Tennessee. The game is at 7 p.m., and is Dalton State's final game before starting Southern States Athletic Conference play.