After two forgettable rivalry games, Quentin Snider decided it’s his time.
Snider scored a career-high 22 points, including a key drive with 1:44 remaining, and Jaylen Johnson and Donovan Mitchell combined for four points in the final 16 seconds to help No. 10 Louisville hold off No. 6 Kentucky 73-70 on Wednesday night in the 50th battle for Bluegrass bragging rights.
After managing just two rebounds in 28 minutes last year in Lexington, Snider rebounded with 10-of-19 shooting, including two 3-pointers, as the Cardinals earned a signature win against their in-state rival. The Louisville native’s final basket was beautiful, a fake ending with a drive for a 69-63 lead that proved critical in withstanding Kentucky’s furious final rally.
”This was pretty big,” Snider said. ”Last year’s performance kind of carried into my mind the whole season, so I was waiting for this game. This was kind of a revenge game.”
Johnson’s layup with 16 seconds left and Mitchell two free throws 8 seconds later built a three-point edge that ended a four-game losing streak in the series.
Malik Monk – whose NBA-range 3-pointer with 12 seconds left capped a 7-2 run that got Kentucky within 71-70 before he fouled Mitchell in the backcourt – bounced another 3-point attempt to tie off the front of the rim with 3 seconds left. Deng Adel (career-high 18 points) grabbed the rebound to seal the win for Louisville (11-1) and spark a loud celebration among teammates and a predominantly red-clad crowd.
The tense ending was fitting in a thriller that featured 10 ties and nine lead changes between foes located about 80 miles apart.
”Our guys did a great job, not only defensively, but of attacking the rim,” Louisville coach Rick Pitino said.
De’Aaron Fox led Kentucky (10-2) with 21 points while Monk had 16 a game after scoring a school freshman-record 47 against North Carolina. Monk followed up his 18-of-28 performance by shooting 6 of 17 from the field and 1 of 9 from long range.