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Welch's Career Best Powers Clarkson Win

ROCHESTER – Junior Roburt Welch scored a career-best 23 points, including 20 in the second half, to help lead the Clarkson University Men's Basketball team to its third straight win, a 90-80 victory over RIT in Liberty League action Friday night. The Golden Knights moved to 7-13 overall and 5-8 in conference games, while the Tigers dropped to 6-14 and 3-10. Clarkson heads somewhat south to play Hobart College on Saturday, while RIT will host St. Lawrence. After a quiet first half in which he made just a single shot, Welch was virtually unstoppable at the start of the second half, scoring 20 points in a stretch of 6:25 and giving Clarkson a comfortable lead that it would never relinquish. Clarkson opened the game with seven points in less than two minutes, but the team was slowed as RIT quickly gained the lead in a span of less than two minutes. The two teams exchanged the lead on 3-pointers in the next minute, but a long-range shot from Chris Hulbert put Clarkson up for good. The Tigers, however, kept things close for most of the first half. It wasn't until close to the five-minute mark that Clarkson expanded its advantage past two possessions when Joe Lucas made a pair of free throws to put the Knights up 31-24, and the lead pushed to eight on a Reese Swedberg lay in at the 2:35 mark. With three misses and a pair of turnovers after that make from Swedberg, however, RIT was able to inch back into the contest and trailed by just four at the break. In the second half, Welch took over, raining 3-pointers from all parts of the perimeter. His first make of the half came at the 18:09 mark, beginning a run of six 3-pointers in just over six minutes, capped off by eight points in a stretch of just 32 seconds. Welch made a layup at 12:20, hit a 3-pointer from near the Clarkson bench at 11:58, and then after a turnover hit another 3-pointer from the top of the key at 11:48 to give Clarkson a nine-point lead (59-50). That advantage would drop to seven briefly, but 3-pointers from Joe Lucas and Chris Hulbert quickly pushed the lead back to double digits (73-59). With the margin still in double digits and time waning down, RIT was forced to put Clarkson on the free throw line. The Knights made their freebies, but RIT would not go away, making 3-pointers late to keep the game within reach. With less than a minute to go, a make from the corner by Will Atkinson cut the deficit to nine, but Hulbert hit one more free throw and Swedberg grabbed a rebound on a desperation 3-pointer at the other end to close things out. Welch finished with 23 points, shooting 8-for-10 from the floor and 7-for-9 from beyond the 3-point arc. It was Welch's first time surpassing 20 points in his collegiate career, as his previous high was 17 against Hobart on January 18, 2019. Hulbert nearly matched Welch with 20 points of his own, but doing it a different way with an 8-for-9 effort from the free throw line. Jake Purdy and Reese Swedberg each reached double figures in rebounds for the Knights. For RIT, Kevin Ryan was within one board of a double-double, producing 20 points and nine rebounds. Keegan Ocorr had 19 points on 8-for-15 shooting and Curtis Nesbit made five 3-pointers to score 17 for the Tigers.

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