NEW LONDON, Conn. – Junior David Labossiere (Stoneham, Mass.) exploded to score 17 of his 20 points in the second half to propel the Connecticut College men's basketball team to an 87-80 comeback victory over Lyndon State in its season opener on Saturday evening at Coast Guard's Roland Hall.
The Camels got a three-point play the old-fashioned way from junior Phil Leotsakos (Arlington, Mass.) to start the game and never trailed through the opening eight minutes of action. The Hornets went ahead for the first time when a Charles Correa Jr. trifecta made it 18-17, but sophomore Jason Bird (Raynham, Mass.) answered with a trey on the other end to put the Camels on top again.
Lyndon State, however, chipped away at the deficit while not allowing the Camels to make a field goal for nearly six minutes. The Hornets built up a six-point lead on a pair of Kevin Love free throws and clinged to a 42-40 advantage at the break.
After a tight start to the second half, Connecticut College caught fire offensively and embarked on a 15-3 run to start pulling away. Labrossiere led the squad by contributing nine of the last 13 points during the hot stretch, which included throwing down a dunk off a feed from freshman Austin Nwafor (East Hartford, Conn.). The Hornets stormed back and made it a one-possession game again when Darnay Gray converted a layup to create a 71-68 score with 7:49 on the clock, but freshman Dan Draffan (Hamden, Conn.) sank a layup and the ensuing free throw to keep the Camels ahead for good.
"We were very fortunate to win tonight," said Connecticut College head coach Tom Satran. "We had six players getting their first significant college experience, so it wasn't too pretty at times. We made a lot of mistakes, but we also did some things really well and have improved a lot since November 1. We are very pleased about that."
Labossiere led five Connecticut College players in twin figures by scoring 20 points on 7-of-17 shooting from the field, including 2-of-3 from long range, and 4-of-6 at the line. Bird finished with 15 points and dished out a team-leading four assists, while Nwafor had a strong outing by contributing seven points and nine boards off the bench.
Correa Jr. paced Lyndon State (0-2) with a 26-point outburst in a reserve role. Love registered a double-double with 17 points and 14 rebounds, and Gray ended the game with 13 points as well as two steals.
Connecticut College (1-0) will next face Southern Maine in its home opener tomorrow afternoon at 2:00 p.m.