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Dalton State College

December 18, 2013

Hilliard a big help in Roadrunners’ victory

Anthony Hilliard won’t get headlines for his scoring, rebounding or even his ability to dish out assists to his Dalton State College teammates following the Roadrunners’ 79-58 win over Southern Wesleyan Tuesday night. But his defensive skills on Southern Wesleyan’s leading scorer Tuesday night spoke loud and clear.

Hilliard’s task, given to him before tipoff by Dalton State coach Tony Ingle, was to keep Warriors leading scorer Cameron Solomon from getting anywhere near his average of 24.2 points per game. Hilliard rose to the task and with some help from his teammates, held Solomon to nine total points. Solomon was held scoreless in the second half.

“I went to Anthony before the game and told him he was going to start and I was putting him on Solomon,” Ingle said after his team improved to 12-1 and held Southern Wesleyan to a season-low scoring output. “You’ve really got to give credit to Anthony Hilliard.”

Tuesday’s victory over the 8-5 Warriors was complete in nearly every way for the Roadrunners. Defensively, the Roadrunners forced the Warriors into 14 turnovers and Dalton State made eight steals and only had six turnovers. Dalton State held Southern Wesleyan’s second-leading scorer Kenny Holmes (17.9 points per game) to just four points. As a team, the Warriors were churning out 81.2 points per game, but the Roadrunners would have none of it.

Dalton State shot out to 10-0 lead and never trailed. But the Roadrunners let it get interesting at times. Solomon hit a layup and free throw to pull the Warriors within 23-21 with 5:04 left before halftime. About this time, Ingle began a full-court press that sent the Warriors reeling and the turnovers mounted.

Demitrice Jacobs, who led the Roadrunners with 22 points and had seven rebounds and steal, began a 15-0 run with a short jumper and an alley-oop layup on a pass from Ricky Sears. Hilliard nailed a 10-foot floater and hit the free throw for a three-point play and a 31-21 lead. Then Jacobs finished off the outburst by draining a 3-pointer and driving for a layup and a 36-21 lead.

Preston Earle (who had 15 points, a steal and a block) drilled a three-pointer to put the Roadrunners up by 16 with 39 seconds left before halftime. Jacobs finished off Dalton State’s first-half scoring by taking a pass from Sean Tate and hitting a 20-foot jumper for a 41-25 lead at intermission. Tate finished with 11 points, eight assists and three steals.

Southern Wesleyan coach Charles Wimphrie said it is hard to handle the Roadrunners’ relentless pressure, depth and scoring ability.

“They shut down my leading scorer, and they did a great job rotating on him. And they are a tough team to guard,” Wimphrie said. “Jacobs can be hard to handle because he plays multiple positions. And they’ve got guard skills. They forced me to go far down my bench.”

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