Snider passes his first 'real' test for Cards

University of Louisville freshman Quentin Snider had his break out game in the final few minutes of the Cardinals' win over Pittsburgh on Wednesday night.

University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino has been saying for a few weeks that freshman Quentin Snider was showing major improvement.

But the only time that was being seen was in practice.

With Chris Jones and Terry Rozier playing at a high level, Snider’s minutes had been limited since the start of ACC play.

Well, until Wednesday night when Snider grew up before our own eyes.

The reigning Kentucky Mr. Basketball from Ballard High School was pressed into service for the final 12 minutes of the game with the Cardinals trailing and Pitino taking Chris Jones out of the game because of his poor performance.

“That should show you what we think of (Snider),” Pitino said.

Snider performed mighty nice for the Cardinals, going 2-for-2 from the field and finishing with four points, two rebounds and just one turnover in 15 minutes. Pitino said his numbers weren’t as impressive as his energy and confidence.

“When I got that first basket, I got more confidence,” Snider said. “I’m happy to help out the team in any way possible. It was fun to be able to do that.”

Pitino has raved about Snider’s “tremendous work ethic” and noted that he needs work on his defense. But the Hall of Fame coach has told the media several times in recent weeks that he would be confident in putting Snider in.

And that time came in the 69-56 win over Pittsburgh.

Snider, who hadn’t made more than one field goal in a game since Dec. 30 and hadn’t scored a point since Jan. 31, keyed a 22-2 run after the Cardinals trailed by six.

He started his surge with a one-handed runner from the right baseline and then just over a minute later hauled in a pass from Chinanu Onuaku and drained a 15-foot jumper. He then came down with a big rebound on the defensive end.

“He plays hard,” junior Montrezl Harrell said. “He works hard and it’s paying off for him. He can come in there and give us a big lift like he did.”

It hasn’t been the easiest transition for Snider or any of the U of L freshmen. But Snider said he’s “just tried to keep my head down and work hard.”

“I know I need to work on my defense, coach is right,” Snider said. “I think playing against Chris (Jones) every day in practice has really helped me. He’s tough and he makes me work. He’s made me so much better.”

On this night, for 12 minutes Snider was better than Jones.

“It’s called paying your dues,” sophomore Terry Rozier said. “(Snider) has paid his dues. He’s a hard worker and he helped us out.”

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