In a defensive battle, No. 13 Auburn edged Northwestern 43-42 to win the Cancun Challenge on Wednesday night in Cancun, Mexico.
Trailing 42-41, the Tigers’ Wendell Green Jr. made a steal and Allen Flanigan gave them a 43-42 lead on a layup with 32 seconds to go in the second half.
Following a timeout, Northwestern (5-1) had a last chance, but Chase Audige missed the potential game-winner with 13 seconds to play, setting off a Tigers celebration.
A 10-0 run by Auburn (6-0), sparked by K.D. Johnson’s three-point play and a 3-pointer and a dunk by Jaylen Williams, put the Tigers up 35-31 less than 10 minutes to play.
A Matthew Nicholson slam with less than four minutes to play tied the game at 37-all. The Wildcats took the lead 40-39 on a 3-pointer by Audige with 2:57 to play.
Williams led the Tigers with 11 points and four rebounds.
Johnson scored 12 points and Flanigan finished with seven points and two assists off the bench.
Green, who came in as Auburn leading scorer at 14 points per game, Wendell Green Jr. was held to two, but he had 10 rebounds and three assists. Johni Broome had five points and eight rebounds.
Audige led Northwestern with 10 points and added two rebounds. Ty Berry added nine points, Boo Buie six points, five rebounds and three assists, while Nicholson had seven points and four boards off the bench.
Robbie Beran chipped in a team-high eight rebounds for the Wildcats.
Poor shooting and great defense headlined a low-scoring first half. Auburn was 5 of 27 (18.5 percent) from the field and 2 of 11 (18.2 percent) from the 3-point line.
Northwestern was 4 of 24 (16.7 percent) from the floor and 0-for-12 from long range.
Broome put the Tigers up 17-10 with just under five minutes left in the first half when he nailed two free throws. Northwestern tied the game at 19 behind nine straight points from the free-throw line, which sparked a 9-2 run to close the half.