DANBURY, CT - The Western Connecticut State University men's basketball team came all the way back from a 25-point deficit to defeat visiting University of St. Joseph, 98-95 in an overtime thriller in front of an announced crowd of 527 at Feldman Arena on Wednesday night.
Samuel gathered a game-high 16 rebounds and registered his third double-double of the season.
It was Cleckley, Jr. that canned a three-pointer from the top of the arc, with 0.7 seconds remaining in regulation that catapulted the Colonials into the extra period.
The Blue Jays, in the first season as a program and under the leadership of legendary coach Jim Calhoun, fall to 8-5 on the season.
St. Joseph raced out to a 16-0 lead in the opening minutes of the contest and led by as many as 25 points, 29-4, following a three-pointer by Brad Landry (Wallingford, CT) with 11:56 still remaining in the first half.
The Colonials stepped up their full-court defensive pressure and were able to draw within eight points, 43-35, after Cleckley, Jr. buried one from beyond the arc with 2:26 left before intermission.
The Blue Jays scored the final six points of the first half and went into the locker room with a 49-35 advantage. They led for nearly the entire game, until Cleckley, Jr.'s off balance three-pointer knotted the game at 89-89 with under a second left on the scoreboard.
In overtime, McLeod, who connected on 11-of-12 attempts from the floor on Wednesday, hit a runner in the lane to give WestConn its first lead, 91-89 just seven seconds into the extra frame.
The hosts would go on to outscore USJ, 9-4 over the final five minutes.
Three of the visitors' starting five scored 74 of their total points with Chris Childs (Bronx, NY) and Noreaga Davis (Bridgeport, CT) each netting 25 points while Delshawn Jackson, Jr. contributed 24 points.
Davis yanked down a team-high 11 rebounds in the loss.
WestConn finished the night with a 36-8 bench-scoring advantage and converted 10 more points, 21-11, than the Blue Jays off of a turnover.
The Colonials return to Little East Conference action this Saturday, January 5 when they travel to league newcomer Castleton for a 3 pm tilt.
St. Joseph plays host to Lesley College, also on Saturday. Tip-off is slated for 1 pm in Hartford.