Providence (13-13) at Cincinnati (17-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 15th, 9:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Fifth Third Arena (13,176) -- Cincinnati, Ohio. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Providence 10-5, Cincinnati 10-4. Away Record: Providence 3-6, Cincinnati 6-4. Neutral Record: Providence 0-2, Cincinnati 1-0. Conference Record: Providence 2-11, Cincinnati 7-5. Series Record: Providence leads, 4-3.
GAME NOTES: The Cincinnati Bearcats look to get back on track and keep pace in the tightly-bunched Big East Conference Wednesday as Providence pays a visit to Fifth Third Arena.
Cincinnati had its winning streak stopped at two games Saturday, running into then No. 18 Marquette on the road in what was a 95-78 final. It was the most points the Bearcats allowed this season as Marquette shot 56.7 percent from the field and scored 25 points off 14 Cincy turnovers. UC shot 43.3 percent from the floor and made just 3-of-13 three-point attempts. Leading scorer Sean Kilpatrick was held to just seven points and found himself on the bench late in the game. JaQuon Parker and Dion Dixon paced the effort with 15 points each while Yancy Gates recorded a double-double of 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Providence fell victim to a stifling defensive effort by South Florida Saturday, dropping a 55-48 decision at home. The Bulls held Providence to just 30.8 percent shooting and used a timely second-half run to complete a season sweep of the Friars. PC was in front heading into the late stages of the game until USF ripped off a game-changing 14-2 run over the final four minutes. Vincent Council was the Friars' lone double-figure scorer with 16 points. Providence has now lost three straight and seven of eight overall.
Cincinnati has won the last two meetings with Providence, including last season's 93-81 overtime victory on the Friars' home court. However, Providence still leads the all-time set, 4-3, with the series tied at 2-2 in Cincinnati.
The Friars are led by the junior Council, who tops the roster with 16.1 ppg and leads all of the Big East in assists with a startling 7.4 per contest -- fourth-most in the country. Bryce Cotton follows with a solid 15.0 ppg, though he was held to just six points on 2-of-10 shooting versus USF. Cotton leads the club with 63 three-pointers, second-most in the Big East, on 40.9 percent shooting. Gerard Coleman and LaDontae Henton are superior as third and fourth scoring options, averaging 13.8 and 13.5 ppg, respectively. The duo combined for just nine points in the loss to USF. Both are also instrumental in the Friars' rebounding game with Henton leading the way at 8.4 boards and Coleman chipping in 5.1 rpg. Providence averages a decent 70.1 ppg and shoots a respectable 44.5 percent from the floor but the defense gives up a similar number of points at 68.3 ppg, though on only 41.4 percent shooting. The Friars own a plus-2.0 margin on the glass overall (37.2-35.2).
The Bearcats are able to maintain one of the conference's better scoring margins at plus-8.5, despite their lackluster effort versus Marquette. Defense is usually the Bearcats' biggest asset, holding teams to 61.5 points per game and 41.8 percent shooting from the field. Cincinnati's offense averages 70.0 ppg and shoots 42.6 percent overall, but has the league's second-best three- point shooting percentage at 35.9 percent. A big reason for that success comes from the sophomore Kilpatrick, who leads the Big East with 68 triples on 40.0 percent shooting and tops the Bearcat roster with 15.0 ppg. Dixon follows with a solid 13.6 ppg while Gates provides 12.6 ppg and a team-high 9.3 rebounds per contest. Cashmere Wright gives UC a fourth double-digit scoring option at 10.9 ppg and tops the roster with his 4.7 assists per game. Wright is also second to Kilpatrick in three-pointers with 42 on 38.5 percent shooting. Cincinnati is pretty even with the opposition when it comes to rebounding, holding a 36.4-35.8 edge.
Cincinnati's ugly loss the last time out should be a wake-up call for a team still in the thick of the Big East standings. Meanwhile, Providence limps in with a 2-11 league mark and needs to find better discipline in closing out games.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Cincinnati 76, Providence 66
02/15 10:35:44 ET
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