November 13, 2013

Dalton State College basketball notebook: In spite of woes at the line, wins are still coming

There isn’t too much to complain about when you open your first season in 35 years by winning five of six games.

But based on their first few games, Dalton State College’s men’s basketball team can be even better.

The Roadrunners shot a woeful 52-for-94 from the free-throw line through the first four games this season — all wins, nonetheless — but have improved in the past two games and brought the season percentage up to 61.9 percent.

Roadrunners coach Tony Ingle said an ideal percentage by season’s end would be in the high 60s or low 70s, “which is pretty darn good for a team,” he added.

In their season-opening 69-66 win at Spring Hill College — the first game for Dalton State since what was then known as Dalton Junior College ended its program in 1978 — the Roadrunners went 13-for-29 (44.8 percent) on free throws. The following games were against Belhaven University (17-for-25, 68 percent), Southern Wesleyan University (16-for-25, 64 percent) and Hiwassee College (6-for-15, 40 percent).

“You just have so much time you can work on things,” Ingle said after the team beat Hiwassee this past Thursday in Dalton State’s home opener. “The guys, I have confidence in them. We have good foul shooters.

“Right now, we’ve started and we’re winning without it,” he said. “Can you imagine what’s going to happen when we improve? It’s something we’re going to get better at.”

Dalton State has already improved, making 22 of 30 free throws (73.3 percent) in an 89-87 loss at Tennessee Wesleyan College on Friday and 17 of 23 foul shots (73.9 percent) in Saturday’s 68-60 win at Bryan College.

“At first, we were (struggling),” guard Sean Tate said after Monday’s practice. “As a team, we shot (well) in the previous games. ... I think if it’s around 70 percent, then that would be good.”

A team’s success in-creases when top-notch shooters like Tate (28-for-32, 87.5 percent) head to the free-throw line more often than struggling ones, such as forward Raheem Mosley (3-for-14, 21.4 percent). So it is good for the Roadrunners that Tate leads the team in not only free throws made but attempts. Preston Earle (15-for-24, 62.5 percent) is second, while Anthony Hilliard (12-for-19, 63.2 percent) is third in both categories.

Surprisingly, the team’s leading scorers — Deme-trice Jacobs (14.2 points per game) and Ricky Sears (13.8) — have struggled from the free-throw line. Sears is 8-for-19 (42.1 percent) on free throws, and Jacobs is 8-for-18 (44.4 percent).

• Dalton State’s identity through its first six games has been playing great defense before the shot.

The Roadrunners have lost only one turnover battle (17-16 in the 79-73 win versus Belhaven). Overall, they have forced 116 turn-overs and committed just 83.

“That’s what we work on,” Sears said.

Beyond turnovers, Dalton State excels in deflecting passes away from a recipient or out of bounds. While not a recorded statistic, this disrupts the flow of a play or forces an opponent to inbound the ball, reset and set up a good attempt with less than the usual 35 seconds on the shot clock. That happened quite a few times in the 68-46 win against Hiwassee, which shot 17 of 61 (27.9 percent) from the field.

“I’ve always felt the defense was the heart and soul of any team, because the team gets credit on defense,” Ingle said. “Our defense against Hiwassee was sensational. To be honest, I really feel like our defense has given us opportunities to win ballgames.”

• Despite the free-throw percentages starting low, there is another foul-related statistic Ingle looks at — the number of fouls.

Dalton State’s six opponents have been whistled for 129 fouls against the Roadrunners’ 119 so far, and Dalton State has attempted 17 more free throws and made nine more than its opponents.

That disparity translates to not only added free throws from the bonuses but also foul trouble for the opposing side, which forces opposing coaches to use their bench more than they might prefer.

“I said during the Spring Hill game, ‘Guys, we’re winning the foul-shooting war,’” Ingle said. “They looked at me like I needed a saliva test. We shot 29 times. We got in the single bonus and the double bonus before they did.

“What people don’t calculate is the substitutions the opponent has to make. First thing is drawing the fouls and the impact that has on another team. Second is making the shots.”

• Energized after a three-day rest since Satur-day’s 68-60 win against Bryan College, Dalton State will play three home games at the trade center in a four-day span beginning at 7 p.m. today against Carver College.

The Roadrunners have the day off Thursday and then host Morris College at 8 p.m. on Friday and Voor-hees College at 4 p.m. on Saturday.

In addition to Dalton State’s games, the weekend action will include Cumber-land University taking on Voorhees College at 6 p.m. Friday and Morris College at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Text Only
  • DHS at SE soccer 4 mlh.jpg Region 7-4A championship

    If recent history is any indication, this week’s Region 7-4A championship game may not be the last time the boys soccer teams at Dalton and Southeast Whitfield stand opposed to one another this season.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • St Louis at Rampage 4 mlh.jpg No Attack for Rampage

    The Georgia Rampage’s offense didn’t do anything in the first half — evident by the scoreboard.
    By the time new quarterback Bart Gloyd stepped in, a comeback was out of reach.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Former Dalton, Auburn QB Carter passes away

    When former Dalton High School football coach Bill Chappell learned one of his former players had died Saturday, he was shocked. His second reaction was sadness, not just because of Loran Carter’s athletic legacy but also his outstanding character.

    April 19, 2014

  • Golf at NobNorth 1  mlh.jpg Prep golf: DHS, rain steady for Nob Invite

    With the Region 7-4A tournament scheduled for Tuesday at Nob North Golf Club, Dalton coach Hunter Johnston was pleased that his team finally got its first victory of the season Saturday in Cohutta at the Nob North Invitational.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Doug Hawley: Cancer will not hinder Run for John’s finish

    With the seventh annual Run for John races scheduled for Saturday in Dalton, there is a community focus this week on the family of the late John Bruner.

    April 19, 2014

  • DSC women win finalé

    The Dalton State College women’s tennis team earned a 5-0 win in a rain-shortened match at home against Snead State to conclude its season.

    April 19, 2014

  • Play ball on the Westside

    The long-awaited Westside Park opened to rave reviews on April 10, with baseball teams ranging from 6 to 12 years christening the the newest Whitfield County recreation facility.

    April 19, 2014

  • DHS at Heritage 1 mlh.jpg Generally disappointed

    Dalton High School’s baseball team started the fifth inning of Friday’s crucial Sub-region 7B-4A game against Heritage-Catoosa with four consecutive hits.
    The only problem for the Catamounts was that was where their good hitting started and stopped.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Prep roundup: Upset puts N. Murray in baseball playoffs

    Over the past few seasons, a late-season game with Sonoraville has been the deciding factor in whether the North Murray High School baseball team advanced to the state playoffs.

    April 18, 2014

  • Miller, Mariners off to NAIA title tournament

    Former Dalton High School golf standout Chase Miller is finishing his senior year at College of Coastal Georgia on a high note.

    April 18, 2014