BABSON PARK, Mass.—First-year James Welch (Needham, Mass.) scored a career-high 17 points and Babson College shot 60.6 percent in the second half on the way to defeating visiting Clark University, 81-59, in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) men's basketball action on Saturday afternoon inside Staake Gymnasium.
With its fifth straight win, Babson improves to 11-4 overall and 4-0 in league play, while Clark drops to 5-10 overall and 1-3 in the NEWMAC.
Welch was 6-of-9 from the floor and added seven rebounds and three assists, while fellow rookie Beau Smith (Germantown, N.Y.) finished with 11 points and four boards for the Beavers. Sophomore Andrew Jaworski (Tolland, Conn.) added 10 points and senior Brandon Johnson (Mount Vernon, N.Y.) led all players with eight rebounds.
Junior Brendan Kittredge (Clinton, Mass.) finished with 18 points on 8-of-13 shooting for the Cougars. Sophomore Biko Gayman (Fort Pierce, Fla.) contributed eight points, five assists and three steals in the loss.
The Green and White overcame a 2-of-12 start to go in front for good at 15-14 on two free throws by Smith with 9:21 to go in the first half. Junior Frank Oftring (North Attleboro, Mass.) canned a three-pointer and Welch followed a jumper by Jaworski with another triple to give the Beavers a 23-14 advantage at the 5:04 mark.
Clark pulled within seven at the break and cut its deficit to 31-27 on a hoop by first-year Alex Nazaire (Ellicot City, Md.) less than two minutes into the second half before Babson broke the game open with a 19-8 run over the next six minutes. Jaworski, junior Julian Alexis (Somerville, N.J.) and sophomores Matt Pattyson (Doylestown, Pa.) and Graham Dolan (Williamsville, N.Y.) all made three-pointers during the spurt, which pushed the lead to 50-35 at the 12:06 mark.
Welch and Smith combined 12 points during a 16-4 run that extended the margin to 69-45 on a bucket by first-year Max Gussen (Medford, N.J.) with 5:44 to go. Smith gave the Green and White a 25-point lead, its largest of the night, with a transition dunk with under two minutes to play.
The Beavers shot 50 percent for the game, finished with a 34-25 edge on the glass, and scored 34 points off of 21 Clark turnovers.
Both teams return to action on Wednesday at 7 p.m. as Babson hosts Wheaton, while Clark takes on Coast Guard.
• The Beavers are 34-38 all-time against Clark and have won 13 of the last 15 games between the programs.
• Babson's got a season-high 56 points from its bench on Saturday. Its previous high had been 32 in a 94-73 win over Tufts back on December 1.
• The Green and White made 13 three-pointers and are now averaging 10.8 triples over its first four NEWMAC outings.
• Gussen and fellow first-year Teddy Sourlis (Rumson, N.J.) both made their collegiate debuts in Saturday's win.