DANBURY, CT – Rookie guard Ahmod Privott (Middletown, CT) pulled up and drilled a game-winning three-pointer from the left wing with less than one second remaining to lead the Western Connecticut State University men's basketball team to a thrilling comeback victory over Rhode Island College, 82-80, in a Little East Conference matchup on Wednesday night at Feldman Arena. With the dramatic win, the Colonials clinched the No. 4 seed in the upcoming LEC Postseason Championship Tournament. They will host the No. 5 seed – still to be determined – on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Privott finished with a team-high 21 points, which included 4-of-9 from beyond the arc. Senior guard Geary McLeod (New London, CT) added 17 points, seven rebounds and a game-high four steals, while classmate forward Aaron Samuel (Stratford, CT) and junior forward Tracy Cleckley Jr. (Rosedale, NY) chipped in with 15 and 11 points, respectively, for WestConn. Samuel also grabbed a team-high nine boards.
Junior forward Benjamin Vezele (Providence, RI) paced the Anchormen with a double-double on game-highs of 30 points and 16 rebounds, while rookie guard Deyshawn Tengbeh (East Providence, RI) contributed 20 and six. Junior guard Jonatan Batista (Providence, RI) dished out a game-high eight assists.
The WestConn bench outscored the shorthanded Anchormen reserves, 26-2. The hosts also forced 23 turnovers while committing just 13, which led to the Colonials' 29-9 advantage in points off turnovers.
RIC would hold its largest lead of 13 points when rookie guard Tamar Williams (New Haven, CT) sank a trifecta to make it 28-15 with 7:54 left in the opening half.
The Colonials would respond with a 12-2 run, cutting the deficit to 38-36 at the break. Samuel would account for six of those points, which included a thunderous dunk during the spurt.
The visitors built the advantage back up to 11 early in the second stanza. However, the hosts struck back once again. Sophomore guard Shea Tracy (New Britain, CT) took a feed from Privott and nailed a three-pointer, swinging the momentum and cutting it to 55-53. Moments later, Privott snagged an offensive board and powered in a layup to even the count before McLeod canned a shot from downtown, giving the Colonials a 58-57 lead midway through the second.
WestConn would hold a slim advantage until Vezele tallied one of his many offensive putbacks, giving RIC an 80-79 lead with 26 seconds remaining.
After a timeout, the Colonials turned the ball over with 11 ticks left. However, the Anchormen rushed downcourt and missed the ensuing layup setting. Senior forward Rashard Rodriguez (Trumbull, CT) pulled down the defensive board and fired a quick outlet to midcourt, setting up Privott for the would-be game-winner.
With the win, WestConn improved to 15-9 overall and 9-6 in league play, while RIC dropped to 13-11 and 6-9. The Colonials wrap up the regular season slate when they host conference foe Southern Maine on Senior Day. Tip-off is scheduled for Saturday at 3 p.m.