The Friars shot 55 percent from the field but committed 21 turnovers that proved too much to overcome.
Freshman Makai Ashton-Langford (Worcester, Mass.) scored 12 points off the bench while senior Rodney Bullock (Hampton, Va.) chipped in 10 points and 4 rebounds.
Rhode Island was paced by guard Fatts Russell. Russell scored 20 points and reeled in five rebounds.
The Friars were down 56-45 with less than 12 minutes to play but quickly climbed their way back in to the game.
A 6-0 run, capped off by a Diallo three pointer pulled Providence back within five, 56-51 with 10:42 left.
Down 65-59, Ashton-Langford reeled in a rebound and in transition delivered a cross-court pass to Jalen Lindsey. Lindsey (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) drilled a three pointer from the left corner to cut the Rams lead to 65-62 with 3:40 to play.
Rhode Island's Jared Terrell and Jarvis Garrett scored on consecutive possessions, however, and Terrell connected on a pair of free throws moments later to end the hopes of a Friars comeback.
The Friars took an early six-point lead as Bullock poured in seven points over the first six minutes to put Providence up 13-7 six minutes into the game.
A Nate Watson (Arlington, Va.) dunk gave the Friars a 23-20 lead but the Rams went on a 15-0 run to erase the Friars advantage.
Jeff Dowtin and Garrett scored consecutive baskets and after six Rams free throws, Russell connected from beyond the arc to put Rhode Island up 33-23.
Russell capped off the run with a layup off a feed from Terrell to push the Rams lead up to 35-23.
Providence pulled back to within nine on a Watson layup off a feed from Ashton-Langford but Russell got one to go as the half expired to put Rhode Island up 42-31 at the break.
Up next Providence hosts Brown at the Dunkin' Donuts Center on Wednesday. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:00pm and the game will be televised on FS2.
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