February 12, 2016

Providence hasn't won since a tight contest at Georgetown two weeks ago.

These Big East rivals meet again Saturday, with the visiting Hoyas looking to hand the 20th-ranked Friars a fourth straight defeat.

Providence (18-7, 6-6) is in danger of dropping out of the Top 25 after a 96-91 loss in double overtime at Marquette on Wednesday. The Friars were swept by a Golden Eagles team below them in the standings.

''The two losses to these guys here is devastating, how we lost them both,'' coach Ed Cooley said. ''That's on me as the coach. Hopefully I do a better job if we're fortunate to play them again.''

First his club has to face Georgetown (14-11, 7-5) again after winning 73-69 on the road Jan. 30. Stars Ben Bentil and Kris Dunn each scored 26 points and got to the line for 10 attempts.

"They have two players that are elite, and they played like it," said Georgetown coach John Thompson III after that contest.

Bentil turned in an elite performance Wednesday with a career-high 42 points while Dunn had 17 points, seven boards and six assists. It wasn't enough to prevent the Friars from moving to the verge of their first four-game slide in three seasons.

''Devastating loss,'' said Cooley, whose club is tied for sixth in the conference and seeing its NCAA Tournament seeding drop thanks to this skid.

Last month's loss to Providence started a three-game slide for Georgetown, which ended it with Monday's 92-67 rout of a St. John's team that has the nation's longest losing streak at 15 straight. D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera scored 24 and Isaac Copeland had 23 and eight boards for the Hoyas, who weren't complaining about the caliber of their opponent.

"We needed a game like this, especially with Providence coming up on Saturday," Copeland said. "They're one of the toughest teams in the conference and the nation, so we needed a game like this to build our confidence up and be able to go on the road and get a win."

Smith-Rivera and L.J. Peak combined for 37 points the last time these teams met. Copeland was held to two points in 19 minutes but he is averaging 17.3 points on 50 percent shooting with 20 total rebounds in the three games since.

"He's been all over the place, which I've said all along he has the ability to do," Thompson said. "He's been really locked in and focused on pursuing rebounds, he's getting deflections, he's coming up with loose balls, his defense has been pretty good and all of a sudden now the points come, so I just think he's been playing a complete game."

This contest features the Big East's top three scorers, with Bentil averaging 20.6 points, Dunn 17.0 and Smith-Rivera 16.7. Peak, who started his first 12 games, is second in the conference among reserves with a 12.8 scoring average.

Providence's 2-4 home conference mark is the third-worst in the Big East. Georgetown has dropped three straight on the road since winning 81-72 over then-No. 5 Xavier on Jan. 19.

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