For the first time this season, Cincinnati played a completely awful game. I don't know what you can point to after the 54-50 loss to Providence and say "At least this was good." It is the worst loss of the season. Both in terms of execution and of opposition. Providence isn't a DePaul level awful team, but they aren't good. Cincinnati straight up didn't execute.
Some of this loss is on the defense, which was horrible in the first half. Providence hit 50% of their field goals and rebounding nearly half of their misses.
Some of this is on the offense, which was absolutely putrid. Cincinnati was 18-48, 37.5%. They were 11-20 from the free throw line. Providence held UC to 13 three point attempts, UC made just 3. The Bearcats turned the ball over 14 times. At least 6 of those were offensive fouls. The game ended when Sean Kilpatrick was double teamed off a ball screen and lost his dribble across the halfcourt line.
Some of this loss is on Mick Cronin. On absolutely huge possessions late, he chose to not call timeout when UC was absolutely lost offensively. The first possession came off a second offensive rebound. UC brought the ball out, dribbled on the perimeter for 25 seconds, before Cashmere Wright had to try and make something happen. That resulted in a missed turnaround jumper.
The second possession was at the end of the game. Mick should have called timeout when UC went across halfcourt. The ball screens did not work all night. At all. Providence played them as well as any team has played UC this season.
Credit goes to Providence for their great defense. They didn't play that well though. That's another part that makes this loss tough to take. PC scored 7 points the last 6 minutes. They made just 3 of 6 free throws down the stretch, including missing 2 when they were up 2. The Friars played maybe a B-, C+ game and were able to hold on. That's a good win for them.
The player that stood out was Kadeem Batts. He had 25 points on 10-17 shooting. He had a team high 9 rebounds. No one on Cincinnati could guard him. Batts was tremendous.
JaQuon Parker was the UC star. He had a 12-10 double double. He played a lot of the second half with a minor ankle injury. JaQuon leaves it all on the floor. That's one of the reasons he's a respected player.
Cincinnati gave this one away. This isn't a season ending loss. It's certainly a loss that highlights the absolute worst case scenario for March though. A game where you can't get the guards going. A game where your defense is lax for a large period of time. A game where you can't make the plays you need to down the stretch. This could be a blueprint. Hell, it was a blueprint of the St John's loss.
The sky is not falling. Teams lose to bad teams. It happened tonight. Be angry about it for a while. Then let it go because the season is too long to worry about losses to Providence. Losing happens. Losing on the road happens. If we see PC in NYC, we will beat them by 20.
Box score via SI