Anderson rebounds from trying loss

Chris Hunn

In the layup line prior to the Quinnipiac Bobcats game against No. 18 UConn, if people looked hard enough they could see a half-smile on the face of Bobcats swingman DeMario Anderson.

But lately, any smile for the junior was hard to come by. Anderson’s mother passed away two weeks ago, after a three-year fight with cancer.

Anderson missed a week of practice to go back to his hometown of Oxon hill, Md. He came back last Wednesday night, practiced Thursday and received a crash course of Quinnipiac’s game plan in between classes.

So earlier this week, Bobcats head coach Joe DeSantis said he would use the Central Connecticut State University transfer sparingly against the Huskies.

However, when Anderson stepped on the Gampel Pavilion floor 4:50 into the game, he never came off. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound guard Anderson said he was surprised he logged 35 minutes, the third most in the game.

“I tried not to think about it,” said Anderson about the passing of his mother. “I tried to look at it as motivation. I know she’s looking down at me. I know she wanted me to continue playing, so that’s what I tried to do.”

But the signs of rust were evident for Anderson in the Bobcats 53-46 loss to the Huskies.

Anderson shot 20 percent from the field, including 1-8 behind the 3-point line. He had a game-high 20 field goal attempts, but only managed to score 11 points. Anderson added a team-high three assists, along with two steals and four rebounds.

“He was not in sync tonight offensively,” DeSantis said. “I have a feeling that he’s going to be a lot better down the road. But I have to give him a lot of credit for coming and playing.You can see he’s going to be good.”

DeSantis knows that from experience.

In Anderson’s final regular season game for Central Connecticut, he dropped a career-high 32 points against Quinnipiac in 2004-05.

UConn coach Jim Calhoun learned firsthand as well. Anderson finished with a game-high 23 points against the Huskies that same year.

This time around against UConn, Anderson had good looks all night. Most just didn’t fall.

Midway through the second half, Anderson caught Marcus Johnson off balance with a step-back dribble. But his shot fell short.

He missed an handful of shots within 10 feet of the basket, as well as open 3-pointers.

But during some moments in last Friday night’s game, Anderson showed the added offense he will bring to the Bobcats–a Quinnipiac team that ranked third in scoring average for the Northeast Conference last season.

Anderson netted a 3-pointer from the right corner to pull the Bobcats within one point with just over 11 minutes in the first half. He was aggressive in all aspects on the floor.

Late in the second half, Anderson forced a crucial turnover, ripping point guard A.J. Price at midcourt. Then, found Chris Wehye on the fastbreak for a layup, who was fouled. The play cut the Huskies lead to five points with 3:06 in the game.

“I had a rough night,” Anderson said. “I had a lot of open shots that I didn’t hit. I’m going to get back in the gym, and it’s going to be a great year.”