January 13, 2014

Dalton State basketball bounces back from loss, improves to 18-2

Chris Whitfield
chriswhitfield@daltoncitizen.com

— Ladaris Green is fitting rather nicely into the Dalton State College men’s basketball team’s rotation.

In just his second game after sitting out the fall semester, the junior had a double-double performance Monday at the trade center with 23 points and 13 rebounds. More importantly, the Roadrunners won 87-72 versus Virginia Intermont College, and forestalling the program’s first losing streak since bringing the sport back after a 35-year pause.

Green, who previously played for NCAA Division I Kennesaw State University, did not start in Monday’s game, coming off the bench to create whatever matchup problem coach Tony Ingle wanted.

“We’re trying to get him back into game shape and into the rotation with the rest of the team,” Ingle said of the 6-foot, 10-inch forward. “Everyone knows he is good so trying to welcome him and get everyone else their playing time isn’t an easy task. He’ll work his way into the starting lineup.”

In the first half, Green played less than seven minutes but scored eight points. In the second half, he played a lot more — and did a lot more for the Roadrunners, who improved to 18-2.

“Coach has me playing different positions,” Green said, “and we’re so diverse. The other players allow me to do different things.”

His biggest moment came after Virginia Intermont (7-10) cut a 15-point second-half Dalton State edge to three, 58-55, when Tyrone Smith hit a 3-pointer with 11:26 left. Open at the top of the perimeter, Green nailed his third 3-pointer of the game. Anthony Hilliard followed with a basket to put the Roadrunners ahead by eight, and Green’s putback with 9:43 left forced a timeout from Virginia Intermont, now trailing 65-55. Riding a four-game winning streak into the game, Virginia Intermont didn’t cut the deficit to single digits again until the 3:01 mark, when Dalton State led 77-68.

“We had some breakdowns on defense and turnovers on offense,” Virginia Intermont coach Chris Tolliver said. “That obviously doesn’t equal success. ... We never got in a rhythm and never felt comfortable. I always felt we were playing on our heels rather than attacking.”

The Roadrunners lost 106-102 to Carver College on Saturday for their second loss of the season. The defense played better against Virginia Intermont, which shot 44 percent from the field. Dalton State also won the rebounding battle, 42-28.

“Our defense was solid. Our composure was fantastic,” Ingle said. “I thought we had better chemistry than we had against Carver.”

Dalton State’s Ricky Sears, whose 15 points complemented Green, put Dalton State ahead 12-9 with a layup at the 15:03 mark in the first half. Green made it 23-16 with his first 3-pointer of the game at the 11-minute mark, and a long 2-pointer made it 27-19 with 9:18 left, when Virginia Intermont called a timeout.

The break didn’t help the visitors as the Roadrunners defense forced a missed shot, and Green hit another 3-pointer on the next possession for a 30-19 lead.

Dalton State led 43-34 at halftime after shooting perfect on 12 free throws. The Roadrunners finished 22-of-28 on freebies, and Sean Tate made 7-of-8 in the final two minutes to put the game away.

Demetrice Jacobs and Erich Allen each added 12 points, while Allen helped with six rebounds and Anthony Hilliard led with seven assists. Joshua Hart led Virginia Intermont with 23 points. Smith had 16 points, J.D. Tucker added 14 points and Ben Sealey helped with 13 points.