In the days leading up to their Sweet 16 game last March, NC State's Cat Barber was asked about the perceived improvement in Louisville following the dismissal of Chris Jones and the insertion of Quentin Snider as the team's primary point guard. Barber's response was that there was no difference between those Cardinals and the ones State had defeated at the Yum Center on Valentines's Day.
And as far as the head-to-head battle between the two point guards was concerned?
"I'm not a big talker," Barber said. "But he's got his hands full."
Barber proceeded to miss 11 of 14 field goal attempts while Snider poured in 14 points to go along with three assists and no turnovers. Louisville won the game, 75-65.
Apparently that wasn't enough for Q.
On Thursday night, the sophomore from Ballard High poured in a career-high 21 points as U of L notched its first true road victory of the season with a 77-72 win in Raleigh. Snider's final tally was 1 more than Barber's, who scored 20 points but shot just 7 of 22 from the field, including 1 of 7 from beyond the arc.
Thursday was also yet another big night for Chinanu Onuaku, who somehow managed to stay out of trouble on an evening where few other Cardinals were so fortunate. The big man registered yet another double-double with 12 points and 14 huge rebounds. Damion Lee (13) and Ray Spalding also scored in double figures.
Jaylen Johnson, meanwhile, went to the wrong bench at one point and then did this before knocking down a pair of huge free-throws late in the game:
So much Earl Clark in that young man.
While NC State's furious rally (which Louisville assisted in) somewhat sullied what would have been an otherwise joyous evening, the Cardinals going into a hostile environment and beating a talented team with its back to the wall is still a big deal. They'll learn from the stuff at the end, but coming home with a victory on a night where they didn't rebound particularly well and attempted 16 fewer free-throws than their opponents is the biggest takeaway here, and is more than enough reason for us all to arrive at work/school/bed tomorrow morning with smiles on our faces.
More coming in a bit .... so much more .... crazy insane amounts of stuff that you can't even imagine ... it's all coming.
For now, though, here's your final box score:
|50.9%||53.8%||66.7%||Team Rebs: 0||Total TO: 8|
N.C. STATE WOLFPACK
|36.1%||36.4%||64.5%||Team Rebs: 0||Total TO: 9|
Date - Thursday, January 7 2016 7:00PM
Location - PNC Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina