Jan. 23—After 20-point road loss against Faulkner University earlier this season, Dalton State played the nationally-ranked opponent a little closer Saturday, falling 61-57 in a tight contest at home.
The Roadrunners led 31-28 at halftime against the Southern States Athletic Conference opponent, but 19th-ranked Faulkner (17-3, 9-3 SSAC) built a double-digit lead late and fended off a late push by Dalton State.
The Roadrunners (11-8, 6-5 SSAC) trailed by as many as eight on three separate occasions in the early stages of the first half.
A jumper by Sean Cobb followed by a 3-pointer from Dalton High grad Franklin Almonte helped cut the eight-point margin to three with 10:28 left in the first half. After a response by Faulkner, Jacquez Fountain and Almonte hit another pair of jump shots to cut the lead down to one before a Brad Milliorn shot gave the Roadrunners their first lead of the game at 24-23 with 5:59 left before the half.
The teams traded the lead a handful of times before back-to-back DSC baskets by Fountain and Carterius Evans gave the Roadrunners the 3-point advantage at halftime.
The beginning of the second half was a scoring struggle for each team, but the visitors were able to break out of the funk first.
Faulkner opened the second half on a 19-5 run to open an 11-point advantage, holding the Roadrunners to just those five points in the first 13 minutes of play in the second period.
Dalton State hit just eight of their 30 shots after halftime, good for just 26.67%.
The Roadrunner offense woke up for 21 points in the final seven minutes, thanks to six second-half 3-pointers, but Faulkner held on.
A 3-pointer by Jaelin Ferrell with 34 seconds left cut the score to 56-54, but Faulkner hit free throws and staved off the potential comeback.
An Almonte 3-pointer as time expired cut the margin from seven to four.
Almonte led Dalton State in scoring with his trio of 3-pointers and 13 points off the bench. The sophomore forward also grabbed five rebounds.
Donavan Miller had 12 points, Evans scored 10 and Cobb scored six and had six boards.
Faulkner's Daniel Garmendia burned the Roadrunners for 20 points.
Dalton State hosts Stillman tonight at 7:30. The Roadrunners fell to the Tigers 71-69 on a last-second buzzer-beater when the teams played earlier this year.