The Roadrunners (10-1), a first-year NAIA program launched by Ingle, a Dalton native, led by as much as 13 late in the first half before Southern Poly (3-5) took charge in the second. After Nathan Terry’s basket gave Dalton State a 54-46 lead with 13:49 minutes left, the Hornets went on a 14-2 run over the next 3½ minutes.
After the teams continued to trade rallies and lead changes, Southern Poly was able to extend its lead to five when former Hillgrove High School standout Marcus Dortch hit a 3-pointer to put the Hornets up 78-73 with 2:12 left.
Jamaal West hit the first of two free throws with 45 seconds to give Southern Poly a 79-75 lead, but that turned out to be the Hornets’ final point of the night. Sean Tate’s two free throws just 4 seconds later set Earle up for his game-winner.
Earle scored a game-high 29 points for Dalton State, while Ricky Sears had 18 and Tate, a former Chattahoochee Tech player, had 14.
Chris Key’s 19 points led Southern Poly. Kevin Phillip had 16 points and a team-high nine rebounds, and Dortch scored 12. C.J. McElrath had a game-high eight assists.
The teams will rematch Feb. 15, when the Roadrunners come to Southern Poly and Ingle coaches his first game in Cobb County since being fired by Kennesaw State following the 2010-11 season.
Chattahoochee Tech 89, Georgia Perimeter 83: The Golden Eagles’ 13-point second half lead was cut to three, but Sherrod Wade’s 3-pointer with roughly a minute remaining helped seal the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association win.
Wade finished with 12 points and five assists for Chattahoochee Tech (7-1, 2-1), which lead 48-37 at halftime.
Former Sprayberry High School Alijah Bennett contributed 23 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals, while Alyja Hennings added a double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds to go with seven assists.
Amonte Potter, another Sprayberry product, had 14 points, five boards, three assists and three steals for Chattahoochee Tech, which made 30 of 37 free throws.
Georgia 87, Chattanooga 56: Nemanja Djurisic came off the bench to score 14 points, all in the first half, as Georgia dominated Chattanooga.
Martynas Bareika led Chattanooga (3-6) with 14 points, hitting four of 12 shots, typical for the Mocs, who shot 30 percent from the field as a team.
Georgia (3-4) scored first and never trailed. The Bulldogs led 9-4 after four minutes when the 6-foot-8 junior Djurisic came off the bench to score 12 points over the next five minutes as Georgia built a 27-13 lead with 10:45 to play in the first half.
Though the Bulldog offense cooled down from a torrid 70-percent shooting pace, Georgia outscored the Mocs 22-4 over the last 11 minutes to take a 47-17 halftime lead. Georgia shot 59 percent from the field compared to 18 percent for Chattanooga.
Georgia scored the first seven points of the second half to build a 54-17 lead with 17:08 remaining after Marcus Thornton hit one of two free throws. That was the largest lead of the game.
The Bulldogs went to their bench extensively in the second half. Fourteen of 15 who played saw at least seven minutes of time.
Guards Juwan Parker and Kenny Gaines, the Whitefield Academy product, scored 11 and 10, respectively, for Georgia, which will take 12 days off for semester final exams.
Oklahoma 96, Mercer 82: Bobby Hield scored 20 points to lead Oklahoma to a 96-82 victory over Mercer.
Hield shot 6-for-11 from the floor to pace the Sooners (6-1). Ryan Spangler added 20 points and 13 rebounds. Cameron Clark scored 19 points.
Monty Brown led the Bears (5-4) with 16 points. Sophomore Phillip Leonard came off the bench to post 12 points in the defeat. He was 7-for-9 from the free-throw line.
Oklahoma put the game away in the second half when Hield led them on an 18-0 run. The sophomore guard scored 11 points during a four minute span and Mercer was unable to recover.
Mercer entered the game allowing only 73 points per game and holding opponents to 48-percent shooting. Oklahoma shot 30-for-59 on the night.
Georgia Perimeter 81, Chattahoochee Tech 67: The Golden Eagles trailed 51-23 at halftime and couldn’t come back.
Courtney Street had 14 points for Chattahoochee Tech (2-5, 0-4 GCAA), while Bri Tiggs added 11 and Rose Robinson contributed 10.