Even away from the comfy confines of Chuck Mosey Gymnasium, the Cardinals looked right at home.
The Athletics and Wellness Center on the campus of Earlham College may not be the usual site for Seton Catholic basketball, but the Cardinals certainly appeared to have a home-court advantage Saturday night.
Seton scored 24 of the game’s first 26 points, Desmond Bane drained the first four 3-pointers he attempted and Seton ran away with a 78-56 victory over Northeastern.
The game counted as a home game for the Cards, and was moved to Earlham earlier in the week. The Knights and Cardinals hope to meet there on an annual basis.
Rhett Butler led all scorers with 23 points, and was one of four Cardinals to finish in double figures.
Zach Lett scored 17, Bane had 14 and Adam Schroeder 14. Lett, a 6-foot-9 junior, also had a team-high 16 rebounds.
“Desmond came out, and we all came out firing well and confident,” Butler said. “It was good we got those shots to go down early.”
The Cardinals surged from the start. Nathan Brouse scored the game’s first four points, followed by an inside bucket from Northeastern’s Alex Smith.
The next 20 points belonged to Seton, including a trio of treys by Bane.
Northeastern’s Cody Uhl had a one-handed putback at the buzzer, but the Cardinals held a 31-13 advantage after one quarter, and 47-25 by halftime.
“It was really flowing. The first half was one of the best halves I’ve ever seen this team play,” Butler said. “We were all clicking.”
The Cardinals continued to click in the second half. Butler hit the first 3 he took in the third quarter, Schroeder made an acrobatic shot that also got him to the free-throw line and Lett continued to score hard-earned points inside.
Grant Esposito hit two late 3s near the end of the third quarter as Northeastern cut its deficit to 62-47.
“It was big for us to start hot,” said Seton coach Josh Jurgens. “Our kids came out with the energy we wanted.”
Esposito scored 12 for the Knights, while Andy Scripture netted 10. Uhl finished with eight points and 14 rebounds.
“I thought their guard play really caused us some problems,” Northeastern coach Brent Ross said. “We have to shore up some things. We have to be able to defend teams with really good guards.
” … They got off to a great start. You have to weather the storm and you have to get stops. You have to be able to execute at the other end. I thought we had opportunities throughout the game. I thought we got to the rim. I thought the Lett kid really caused us some problems, but he’s going to do that. When you get further down the line and you play in tournaments, you’re going to play some big kids.”
Seton (6-2) returns to action Dec. 28 at Lincoln. Northeastern (5-3) plays in the Union County Tournament Dec. 27-28.
“We feel like we’re a really good offensive team,” Jurgens said. “We feel like we can score one through five on the floor. They just did a heck of a job tonight.”