Anderson, Gonzalez team up to knock off SHU Pioneers

Matt DeBarros

The Sacred Heart men’s basketball team rolled into the TD Banknorth Sports Center having lost three out of its last four games. On the other side of the court waited the Quinnipiac Bobcats, who have been living on cloud nine for the past month, winning eight of their last nine games. From the opening tipoff until the final buzzer, both teams traded buckets, but the night ended with the ‘Cats on top with a 79-75 victory.

With the victory, the ‘Cats moved into sole possession of second place in the NEC.

Five minutes into the first half, with the Bobcats up 11-7, head coach Joe DeSantis unleashed junior guard DeMario Anderson from the bench. Four minutes later Anderson had eight points, including two 3-pointers, giving Quinnipiac its biggest lead of the night at 21-12.

With 37 seconds to go in the first half, Sacred Heart’s Jarrid Frye tied the game at 36. But junior center Karl Anderson’s buzzer-beating layup allowed the Bobcats to trot into the locker room with a 38-36 lead. Anderson took 12 points to the locker room riding a hot shooting. “I felt really good today, my shots were falling early and I got on a roll,” Anderson said.

The second half was a lot like the first, with multiple lead changes and a barrage of 3-point attempts by both teams. The second half included 13 lead changes, which made for a very exciting 20 minutes of basketball. But with 1:43 left to play DeSantis called a timeout, down 74-73. The plan was to get the ball to DeMario Anderson. Anderson responded by hitting a 15-foot jumper to put the ‘Cats on top for good at 75-74. Senior guard Adam Gonzalez sealed the deal with a late free throw, giving Quinnipiac a little insurance to help secure the victory.

Gonzalez finished with 20 points, while DeMario Anderson led all scorers with 31 points, more than doubling his average of 14 points per game. “[Anderson] uses screens so well, and he is great in the open court,” Frye said of Anderson.

Anderson only basked in his glory for a moment, however, reminding everyone that the win was a team victory. “You got to give credit to the whole team,” DeSantis said. “Casey [Cosgrove] runs the team, and we don’t win that game without Gonzalez and [Karl] Anderson. But DeMario had a little more giddy-up in his step tonight.”

Anderson and Gonzalez have combined for nearly 30 points a game, which makes them one of the most dangerous tandems in the NEC.