NEW LONDON, Conn. – The Connecticut College men's basketball team played its most competitive game of the year against a NESCAC opponent, but it wasn't enough, as the program was dealt a 69-56 loss by Bates at the Charles B. Luce Field House on Saturday afternoon.
The hosts only trailed by one at 55-54 in the waning minutes after junior David Labossiere (Stoneham, Mass.) hit a pair of free throws. Bates, however, scored on its next possession when Nick Gilpin found Max Hummel for a 3-pointer to make it a two-possession game again and never trailed the rest of the way.
A Camel 3-point attempt on the ensuing play was off target, and Jeff Spellman followed with a jumper on the other end to give the Bobcats breathing room. After another 3-point attempt by the Camels bounced off the rim, the Bobcats converted seven free throws to seal the 13-point victory.
Connecticut College burst ahead by a 12-2 score by most notably utilizing a stifling defense which forced the Bobcats to miss their first 15 shot attempts from the floor over the first nine minutes. But after sophomore Ben Bagnoli (East Haven, Conn.) canned a 3-pointer to put the Camels ahead by double digits, the visitors began to rally. Eli Frater found Hummel, who converted the first field goal for Bates by sinking a trifecta from the right arc with 11:01 on the clock, and Nick Lynch made a jumper the next time down the floor to suddenly bring the visitors within five. The Bobcats ended the half on a 20-7 run to take a 33-29 lead into the break.
The second half was competitive and featured one tie and two lead changes. Even though Shawn Strickland drilled a 3-pointer to open the scoring for Bates, the Camels chipped away at the deficit and were able to regain the lead at 46-44 when sophomore Patrick Lazor (West Hartford, Conn.) converted a layup with 10:35 on the clock.
Fresshman Yai Deng (Portland, Maine) added a 3-pointer to extend the Connecticut College advantage to five, but the Bobcats had another rally in them and went ahead by a 53-52 score when James Mortimer nailed a 3-pointer with 5:39 left. Bates never trailed again and shot 7-of-8 from the line in the last two minutes to leave the gym with a victory.
"We played better today," said head coach Tom Satran. "We are learning and improving."
Hummel paced Bates (10-10, NESCAC 3-4) and proved to be a spark off the bench by scoring 17 points, which included shooting 5-of-7 from beyond the arc. Spellman added 17 points, five rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot.
Dan Draffan (Hamden, Conn.), a freshman, led three Connecticut College players in twin figures by scoring 18 points. He also grabbed seven rebounds. Bagnoli and Labossiere finished with 16 and 14 points, respectively, while Labossiere also grabbed six rebounds and blocked a shot.
Connecticut College (6-13, NESCAC 0-7) will next travel to Western Connecticut State for its final non-conference game of the season on Wednesday, Jan. 31 at 7:00 p.m.