CANCUN, Mexico (AP) — K.D. Johnson scored 12 points, Allen Flanigan made a contested go-ahead layup with 31 seconds left and No. 13 Auburn held on to beat Northwestern 43-42 on Wednesday night in the championship game of the Cancun Challenge.
Jaylin Williams made 3 of 6 from 3-point range and finished with 11 points for the Tigers (6-0).
Chase Audige hit Northwestern’s second 3-pointer to take a 40-39 lead with 3 minutes to play. Wendell Green Jr. — Auburn’s leading scorer at 14.0 per game — scored his only points when he hit a pull-up jumper with 1:43 to go then Audige answered with a layup to give the Wildcats a one-point lead 24 seconds later. After Robbie Beran stole a pass from Auburn’s Johni Broome, Green created a Northwestern turnover that led to Flanigan’s layup.
Johnson contested a potential winning jumper by Audige in the closing seconds that bounced off the backboard, deflected off Beran and was finally secured by Green.
Audige led Northwestern with 10 points, three blocks and two steals. The Wildcats shot 4 of 24 (16.7%) in the first half and finished shooting 25% (14 of 56) from the field and 2 of 24 (8.3%) from 3-point range.
The game was tied at 19 at halftime.
Northwestern missed its first 17 3-point shots before Ty Berry hit from behind the arc with 12:02 remaining to cap a 12-2 run that gave the Wildcats a 31-25 lead. Johnson answered with a three-point play before Williams hit a 3 then threw down a dunk to put Auburn back in front less than 2 minutes later.
Auburn shot 26% (13 of 50) from the field and made just 5 of 21 (23.8%) from behind the arc.
Northwestern returns home to take on Pittsburgh in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Monday
Auburn plays at home Sunday against Saint Louis
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