DALTON, Ga. -- The perfect start to UPIKE’s season came to a close on Friday when the Bears lost to the hands of No. 15 Dalton State on the road, 84-73.
Friday’s contest lacked to usual quick pace and flow that UPIKE (5-1) tries to operate at, especially in the second half as evidenced by the 18 fouls in the final 20 minutes. Those fouls resulted in 27 free throws for the Roadrunners, which played a key role in the difference in the game.
Arguably UPIKE’s two most effective players so far this season – Jayvian Delacruz and Xaviar Gaona – both fouled out and Chase Parsley and Jazz Parker each ended up with four fouls.
After the two teams felt each other out in the first seven minutes, Dalton State (2-1) used a 10-0 run to take a big 11-point lead early. Pikeville would claw back a bit and the Roadrunners’ lead would hover around six points for the rest of the half.
The Bears would take the lead halfway through the second half thanks to a scoring burst from Jovontae Carleton, who was one of three UPIKE players to reach double figures with 12 points, the others being Delacruz and Da’Rell Domineck at 15 and 13, respectively.
However, after that point is when the whistles started to come out. Dalton State went on a 9-1 run to take a seven-point lead, but seven of those points came at the free-throw line. UPIKE would only be able to pull within five for the rest of the game.
There was a total of 53 combined fouls in the game, including three instances of double technicals, and the resulting foul trouble thwarted UPIKE’s ability to come back.
The Bears have the opportunity to shake off the loss on Saturday with a matchup against Faulkner at 2:00 p.m. in Dalton.