Cincinnati powers past Providence
NEW YORK (AP) — Sean Kilpatrick scored 17 points to lead Cincinnati past Providence 61-44 on Wednesday in a Big East tournament game between teams desperate to improve their postseason credentials.
JaQuon Parker added 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Bearcats (22-10), who might have solidified an NCAA tournament berth with the win. No. 9 seed Cincinnati advanced to a quarterfinal matchup Thursday with fifth-ranked Georgetown, the tournament’s top seed, at Madison Square Garden.
Kadeem Batts led the eighth-seeded Friars (17-14) with 14 points and eight rebounds, but Bryce Cotton — the conference’s leading scorer at 19.6 points per game — was held to 12 on 5-for-15 shooting. He missed all seven 3-point attempts, and Providence went 1 for 16 from beyond the arc.
Wearing special uniforms with neon trim and hideous, camouflage-patterned shorts, Cincinnati hounded the Friars into 28 % shooting from the field (18 for 64).
Both teams struggled to score for most of the second half, though.
Trying to erase an early 18-point deficit, Providence cut it to 43-37 with 5:09 remaining on a tough layup by Cotton. Kilpatrick answered with a 3-pointer, and then Parker grabbed Kilpatrick’s off-target 3 and converted a three-point play for his first points of the second half.
Two more free throws by Parker extended Cincinnati’s cushion to 51-39 with 3:54 to go, and the Friars never got closer than eight again. Kilpatrick, from nearby Yonkers, sealed it with a three-point play that made it a 14-point game at the 1:41 mark.
In their final chance for an NCAA tournament push, both teams entered this second-round matchup eager to make a splash.
Cincinnati appeared to be in better position, with a 20-win season already secured and an RPI ranking of 49. But the Bearcats faded down the stretch of the regular season, dropping six of their final nine games, while Providence became one of the best teams in the Big East once the calendar turned to February.
The surprising Friars, ranked 83rd in the RPI, won seven of their last nine conference games, including a 54-50 victory at home over then-No. 17 Cincinnati on Feb. 6 behind 25 points and … [For more on Cincinnati powers past Providence in Big East Tournament, click here.]