By BRENDAN McGAIR
NEW YORK â€“ Stop if youâ€™ve seen or heard this before, Providence fans.
Another stay in the Big East Tournament turned out to be quick and not-so-sweet for the Friars, who were taken out by Cincinnati, 61-44, Wednesday afternoon at Madison Square Garden. PC now will see if a 17-14 record is good enough to earn a NIT berth while Cincy earns a Big East tourney semifinal-round date with top-seeded Georgetown on Thursday.
The Friars never lead in this one. Cincinnati jumped out to a 26-8 advantage before PC closed to within 31-23 at halftime. Providence scored the first four points of the second half to get within four points, but a Cincinnati team that may have locked up an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament took care of business the rest of the way. The Bearcats led 55-44 with just over two minutes remaining before the game got completely away from Ed Cooleyâ€™s Friars.
Kadeem Batts led PC with 14 points â€“ he scored 25 points against the same Cincy squad last month at the Dunkinâ€™ Donuts Center. PC hasnâ€™t won a Big East tourney since 2009 and now has two wins in its last 14 appearances.