DANBURY, Conn. – The Connecticut College men's basketball team dropped a non-conference game to Western Connecticut State by an 86-78 score on Wednesday evening at Stephen Feldman Arena. The seesaw battle featured five ties and 10 lead changes until the Colonials pulled away at the end.
Western Connecticut State (12-8) jumped out to a 7-0 advantage before the Camels clawed back. Freshman Austin Nwafor (East Hartford, Conn.) made a jumper to tie the game at 17-17 with 12:41 left, and classmate Dan Draffan (Hamden, Conn.) put the visitors ahead for the first time by following with a pair of free throws at the midway point of the frame. After the teams exchanged the lead four more times, the Camels found themselves ahead by a 41-40 score at the break.
The Colonials regained the lead in the second half when Eli Rodriguez converted a layup on the team's first possession. Sophomore Patrick Lazor (West Hartford, Conn.) put the visitors ahead again by finishing a pass from junior David Labossiere to make it 50-49 at the 16:48 mark, but the hosts came back and established a double-digit lead when Evan Curtis connected from downtown to create a 65-55 score with 11:30 on the clock.
Even though Western Connecticut State was able to extend the margin to as many as 14 on a Tyler Rowe layup with 4:19 left, the Camels did not give up and slashed the deficit down to five with 28 seconds left courtesy of a trey by Nwafor. The Colonials, however, made free throws at the other end to put the game on ice.
"We couldn't get the defensive glass under control in the second half," said head coach Tom Satran. "That was the difference in the game."
Legend Johnson led a group of five Western Connecticut State players in double figures with 16 points. He also shot 8-of-10 from the field and grabbed eight rebounds. Rowe added 15 points, while Eli Rodriguez contributed eight points to go along with six boards and four steals.
Labossiere paced Connecticut College by lighting up for 28 points. He shot 10-of-14 from the floor, including 3-of-6 from long range, and 3-of-5 at the line. Draffan registered a double-double with 19 points and 10 boards to go along with three blocks, and Nwafor notched 14 points.
Connecticut College (6-14) returns to action to host Trinity on Sunday, Feb. 4 at 2:00 p.m. Seniors Aaron Swenson (Waltham, Mass.) and Isaiah Robinson (Lynn, Mass.) will be recognized for their contributions to the program prior to the contest.