Providence, RI (Sports Network) - The 17th-ranked Cincinnati Bearcats take on
the Providence Friars in Big East Conference action on Wednesday at the
Dunkin' Donuts Center.
Mick Cronin's Bearcats have won two straight and five of their last six games
to remain in the thick of the hunt in the Big East. With a 65-59 road win at
Seton Hall this past weekend, Cincinnati moved to an impressive 18-4 overall
and 6-3 in league play, just one game behind league-leading Syracuse.
Ed Cooley's second season at the helm of Providence has come with its ups and
downs. The Friars have allowed a solid non-conference record to all but
disappear with less than stellar play in-conference. Providence was able to
end a three-game skein with last weekend's 55-52 win over Villanova. The
victory brought Providence back to .500 overall at 11-11, but just 3-7 in Big
All eight previous meetings between these two teams have come since Cincinnati
joined the Big East for the 2005-06 season. The Bearcats defeated the Friars
in the only meeting last year to tie things up at 4-4.
The gameplan for Cincinnati is to play stingy defense and work its offense off
of that. The Bearcats are one of the nation's top defensive units in 2012-13,
holding opponents to just 58.8 ppg, on a meager .374 shooting. UC also boasts
of a solid +8.3 rebounding margin, while forcing 14.5 turnovers per game.
Offensively speaking, Cincinnati is driven by its three-guard set. Sean
Kilpatrick headlines the group and ranks third in the conference in scoring at
18.5 ppg. Cashmere Wright and JaQuon Parker add 14.2 and 10.6 ppg,
respectively. Kilpatrick and Wright are a formidable duo from long range,
combining for 110 of the team's 161 3-pointers to date.
Cincinnati built up a 20-point lead early in the second half, but allowed the
Pirates to battle back within four, before holding on for the win. The
Bearcats were a solid 21-of-27 from the free-throw line in the game, including
an 8-of-9 effort down the stretch to preserve the win. Kilpatrick drained 5 3-
pointers in the win and led all scorers with 21 points. Wright poured in 17,
while Parker finished with nine.
The Friars can counter with their own prolific scorer in Bryce Cotton. The
6-foot-1 junior leads the Big East in scoring at 21.4 ppg, thanks in large
part to his .409 effort from behind the arc (67-of-164). Balance comes in the
form of forwards Kadeem Batts (13.8 ppg, 7.0 rpg) and LaDontae Henton (13.7
ppg, 8.1 rpg). Senior point guard Vincent Council has missed a good portion of
the season but is back to full strength and contributing both as a scorer (9.9
ppg) and a deft distributor (6.9 apg).
The Friars used strong defensive play to earn the season sweep of Villanova
this past weekend. Providence held the Wildcats to an ugly 27.5 percent
shooting performance, while forcing 18 turnovers in the win. Cotton led the
team with a solid stat line consisting of 18 points, six rebounds and five
assists. Josh Fortune played a big role off the bench, tallying 15 points, all
coming from behind the arc (5-of-5).
Cincinnati has played very well on the road this season and while Cotton
always seems to get his points, the Friars fail to support him consistently.
That will prove problematic against the Bearcats, as Kilpatrick is more than
capable of matching Cotton's output point for point.
The Sports Network