Irish blow out rival Marquette in opener
SENECA — Opening up the season in their own Turkey Tourney on Tuesday, the host Seneca Fighting Irish did little wrong against Ottawa Marquette.
Seneca held Marquette to just six field goals in the game, used a 22-2 run to start the second half to pull away from the Crusaders, got double digits in scoring from three different players and had 11 players score in a 61-29 victory.
"It's a nice start, but there's still a ways to go," Seneca coach Russell Witte said.
Marquette hung with the Irish in the first quarter thanks to seven points from Michael Sypniewski, but Seneca led 16-10 after one and took a 28-18 lead into halftime thanks to 13 of the 15 points on the night turned in by guard Peyton Schrag.
"It's always good to beat a rival in the first game,"Schrag said.
Seneca was 11-of-21 shooting in the first half but the Irish didn't go into the locker room satisfied.
"We picked it up at both ends in the second half," senior forward Brian Bergeson said. "We finally started putting things together in the second half."
Seneca scored 26 points in the third quarter behind 10 of the 15 points put in by Bergeson and eight of the 10 coming from Austin Applebee in that frame alone.
"Applebee and Bergeson were huge in the third quarter," Witte said. "If Austin and Brian play like that, they are going to have matchups all night long.
"In the second half, everyone got their heads screwed on and did the job. The help-side defense was phenomenal in the second half."
Seneca was 11-of-17 in the third quarter and finished the game converting 25-of-44.
"In the second half we created our offense through passing instead of playing a 1-on-1 game," Schrag said.
The Fighting Irish forced 21 turnovers in the contest — 16 in the second half.
"Our help-side defense was late in the first half and that got us out of position," Witte said.
Seneca was outrebounded (22-20) in the contest but did much better at that aspect of the game in the second half, as well.
"I know the numbers don't show it, but Conlan Callahan (six points) played a fantastic game," Witte said. "He kept things together tonight when the team needed him to."
"We came in and did what we had to do," Bergeson said. "We had a good first half but then came out in the second half, picked it up, came together as a team and the bench came alive."
Eleven of the 17 players on the roster scored and everyone got to play in the running-clock win.
Seneca now plays at 7:30 on Wednesday against St. Anne.