Instant Analysis: Auburn edges Northwestern, wins Cancun Challenge

The No. 16 Auburn Tigers were crowned champions of the 2022 Cancun Challenge on Wednesday night, but they did not make it easy on themselves.

One night after shooting 56% in a blowout win over Bradley, Auburn connected on just 13 of its’ 50 shots from the field in their 43-42 win over Northwestern on Wednesday night at the Hard Rock Hotel Rivera Maya.

Of all 11 players to see action on Wednesday, Jaylin Williams was the only Tiger to succeed on more than three shots. Williams took 10 shots from the field, and connected on four of them. He also recorded three of Auburn’s five made three pointers.

Neither team was able to find a spark offensively in the first half, as both teams shot 18% in the first half which ended in a 19-19 tie. The Tigers went through a seven-minute stretch to end the half where they did not make a field goal and had a four-minute stretch earlier in the half where they did not record a field goal.

Auburn shot 5-of-27 from the field in the first half and went 2-of-11 from beyond the arc. Northwestern went 4-of-24 from the field but stayed close to Auburn by taking advantage of turnovers. The Tigers turned the ball over eight times in the first half and turned those into six points.

Allen Flanigan led the team in points with five in the first half. Wendell Green went 0-for-7 from the field in the opening half but came down with six defensive rebounds.

Northwestern took its’ first lead of the game at the 16:39 mark in the second half on a made jumper by Ty Berry. Over the next five minutes, the game would remain close. But momentum began to swing back to Auburn at the 11:34 mark. Following a K.D. Johnson free throw, Williams scored four points in a span of 24 seconds to push Auburn back in front. The go-ahead basket was set up by a Johnson steal, which transitioned to a Williams dunk.

Northwestern regained the lead with 3:00 left in the game on a three-pointer by Chase Audige. The lead would change hands three times over the final three minutes, with Allen Flanigan’s jumper with 0:31 remaining being the deciding basket.

Johnson led the team in scoring with 12, followed by Williams, who scored 11. Green only recorded two points in the game, but finished with 10 total rebounds.

The Tigers will return to Auburn to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday before preparing for Sunday’s game with Saint Louis. Tipoff for Auburn’s next game is set for 2 p.m. CT on Sunday afternoon at Neville Arena.


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Story originally appeared on Auburn Wire