The No. 17 Cincinnati Bearcats entered Rhode Island to face the scrappy Friars of Providence in a Big East battle where the Friars pulled off a 54-50 upset.
Cincinnati was hoping to string together a few wins before heading home to face Pittsburgh, Villanova, and Georgetown, but their hopes were set short by Kadeem Batts and the Friars.
Providence took a 26-21 lead into half time as Cincinnati could not get any flow going offensively because of turnovers and offensive fouls. The Friars also capitalized on all Bearcat defensive errors that resulted in a lot of open layups and jump shots for the Providence big man Batts.
Providence led off the second half with a stingy defense and took a double digit lead with under 10 minutes remaining, but Cincinnati always finds a way to get back into games with pressure defense and transition baskets.
Sean Kilpatrick and Jaquon Parker led the comeback with 13 points and 12 points respectively, but no other Bearcat had over 6 points. Kadeem Batts dropped 25 points and 9 rebounds, while Bryce Cotton added 11 points for the Friars.
Cincinnati had a chance to tie the game late, but a Sean Kilpatrick turnover sealed the deal for Providence who sent Cincinnati to their 4th Big East loss in 10 attempts.
Providence improves to 4-7 in league play and has been playing like a completely different team since their star point guard Vincent Council has returned. Council added 6 points and 8 assists.
Cincinnati now heads home for a rematch vs. Pittsburgh at 6pm on Saturday.