BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — David Padgett could see it coming.
Louisville’s interim basketball coach said he and his assistants noticed a difference in the way senior guard Quentin Snider carried himself in practice during the past week.
“He kind of had a different approach to him, a different mindset,” Padgett said. “We knew he was going to play really well.”
Snider didn’t disappoint.
The Louisville native scored 22 points on a career-high seven 3-pointers as the Cardinals pulled away from Virginia Tech for a 75-68 win on Saturday.
Louisville snapped a two-game losing streak and pulled even in Atlantic Coast Conference standings with Tech at 9-7.
“That was a much-needed win for us,” Padgett said. “For a lot of reasons. Not only because we had a tough week with some other things off the court, but just because we needed a win.”
Trailing 57-53 with 7:07 to play, the Cardinals (19-10, 9-7) hit five shots from beyond the 3-point arc over the next 4:45 to take control of the game. That was part of a stretch that saw Louisville hit six consecutive 3-pointers while the Hokies missed seven straight attempts from long range.
“It’s just something we’re trying to improve on,” Tech junior point guard Justin Robinson said of the Hokies’ 3-point defense. “They hit six 3s late.”
Robinson scored the Hokies’ first seven points and finished with 16.
Sophomore center Kerry Blackshear Jr. scored 14 points and had five rebounds for Tech before he fouled out with 1:03 left to play. Robinson hit a step-back shot from just inside the 3-point line before the halftime buzzer, tying the game, 34-34.
The Hokies (20-9, 9-7) went 10 for 18 at the free-throw line.
Louisville: The road win could be a big boost for Louisville’s NCAA Tournament resume. And it keeps the Cardinals in the hunt for a high seed for next month’s ACC Tournament in Brooklyn.
Virginia Tech: Most bracketologists had the Hokies safely in the NCAA Tournament field going into this weekend, but the committee doesn’t look fondly on teams that limp to the finish. With games against Duke and Miami remaining, then the always-challenging league tournament remaining, Tech needs another win or two to feel safe.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
Virginia Tech committed 19 turnovers leading to 20 points in its earlier loss to the Cardinals. Saturday, the Hokies first turnover didn’t come until nearly 10 minutes into the game. Tech finished with eight turnovers that led to three points.
Louisville: The Cardinals get to return home and don’t play until Thursday. That’s the good news. The bad news is they host No. 1 Virginia, which has beaten the Cardinals in their last five meetings, including earlier this season.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies face a short turnaround before it hosts Duke on Monday night. The Blue Devils eviscerated the Hokies 74-52 earlier this month in Durham.