It was only fitting that Louisville junior Quentin Snider walked up to the media after his performance against Kentucky on Wednesday night, put on a Santa Claus hat and said "Merry Christmas."
Snider had just delivered the best Christmas present for the U of L program and fan base.
The Ballard High School product had never scored in his two previous games against the Wildcats, but this time came up huge for the Cardinals. Snider finished with 22 points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals in a 73-70 victory.
"Yeah, that was big," Snider said with a smile. "It means a lot to me. It's really special to me."
A year ago, Snider didn't score in 28 minutes in a two-point loss against the Wildcats in Lexington and his father, Scott, said he "replayed that game in his head a lot," over the few days after the loss.
But this time, Snider was the reason for the victory.
"Quentin played a big-time game," U of L coach Rick Pitino said. "I just think he kept attacking the rim, and that was good, obviously, and he made shots. He played great."
Snider hit his first three-pointer of the game just over four minutes into the contest and his father said he knew he was good after that bucket. He finished 10 of 19 from the field, including 2 of 6 from three-point range.
Scott Snider said it was a game of "redemption" for his son.
"Right now it's just a natural high to see your son play like that in a UK-U of L game," said the father, a lifelong U of l fan. "When he grew up here, and your whole life you want to see him play in a game like that and perform like that. He took last year's game personal.
"For him to come back and have a game like this, it makes up for everything that happened last year."
Perhaps the biggest play of the game for Snider came in the final minutes. With U of L up just 67-63 with 1:40 left on the clock, Snider put a little hesitation move on UK's Bam Adebayo and gave the Cards a 69-66 lead with a layup.
"That was big," Snider said. "I knew we needed to get to the rim. I just tried to make him dance."
And not long after the U of L fanbase was dancing with the victory.
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