Providence, RI – Kadeem Batts scored 25 points and pulled down nine rebounds and Bryce Cotton added 11 points -- all of which came in the second half -- to help Providence take down No. 16 Cincinnati, 54-50, Wednesday at Dunkin Donuts Center.
Vincent Council scored six points and dished out eight assists and Lee Goldsbrough contributed six points and four boards for the Friars (12-11, 4-7 Big East), who have won two straight following a three-game skid and ended a six-game losing streak versus ranked foes.
"It's been an up-and-down season for us," Providence coach Ed Cooley said. "In the last three games, we're starting to show a little bit of consistency, and starting to play better basketball."
Sean Kilpatrick scored 13 points and JaQuon poured in 12 and 10 rebounds for the Bearcats (18-5, 6-4), who had a chance to tie the game with under 10 seconds remaining -- down two points -- before Kilpatrick lost the handle of the ball and it scooted across halfcourt for a backcourt violation. Shaquille Thomas, Cashmere Wright and Cheikh Mbodj each scored just six points in the loss.
"We started off sluggish," said Kilpatrick. "Then we got in scoring droughts and dug a deeper hole. We could have played 10 times better."
Kilpatrick brought the visitors within 27-30, to start the second half, however, Cotton quickly nailed two 3-pointers within a span of two minutes, pushing the Friars' advantage to 36-29 with 14:22 remaining.
Cotton wasn't done yet, as he was fouled on a 3-point attempt and nailed all shots from the charity stripe making it an eight-point lead. Batts then provided the team's next eight points, as the Bearcats were held to just three points, and the home team went up, 47-34 with six-plus minutes to play.
That's when the visitors made things interesting, scrapping their way back as the game winded down within 49-48, following a 14-2 flurry as Mbodj swished both free throws with 2 1/2 minutes to play.
Batts then connected on 1-of-2 free throws to make it 50-48, which is where the game stayed until under the one minute remaining.
Cincinnati's Thomas then drove through the lane as the clock struck under 30 seconds, but Goldsbrough defended the shot perfectly and forced a miss shot. Cotton went to the line on the next possession and sunk two free throws to extend the edge to four points.
Just went it seemed the Friars would easily hold on for the victory, Justin Jackson drove to the bucket with 14 seconds left and was fouled by Goldsbrough, to try and complete a three-point play. He missed the shot, which would have brought Cincinnati within one and the team was forced to foul.
Again, Providence had a chance to seal the deal with Batts on the free throw line, but he missed both shots, before Kilpatrick turned the ball over in the closing seconds.
After trailing, 20-10 in the first half, The Bearcats chipped back to get within 22-19 on Kilpatrick's fastbreak lay-in, although back-to-back jumpers by Batts helped Providence hold a 26-21 edge at the half.
Neither team shot particularly well from behind the arc as Providence shot 2- of-17, compared to 3-of-13 for the 'Cats ... The Friars came into the game having lost 20 of their last 23 matchups against ranked foes ... Cincinnati lost for the first time this season when attempting at least 13 free throws ... The team was 18-0 when attempting at least 13 from the charity stripe entering the contest ... Only three other Friars found the scoreboard, each accounted for just two points.