North Florida kept its cool Wednesday against Elon, going on a 12-3 run in the game's final four minutes to claim a 72-65 victory in the championship game of the Mayan Division at the Cancun Challenge.
The Phoenix went up, 62-60, with 4:14 to go on a layup by Ryan Winter, but the Ospreys had all the answers in crunch time - a Dallas Moore 3-pointer with 31 seconds left iced the contest and moved UNF to 3-3 on the season. Elon drops to 2-3.
Moore closed with 21 points and six rebounds; Jalen Nesbitt added 12 points and six assists, and Trent Mackey scored 11 points. North Florida enjoyed a 38-29 edge in rebounds and escaped despite shooting 4-of-21 from 3-point range.
Luke Eddy had 14 points and four rebounds for Elon. Elijah Bryant scored 10 points; the Phoenix shot just under 40 percent from the field.
Donte Pretlow's layup with three seconds to go Wednesday proved to be the difference for Morgan State, which eked past Liberty, 51-50 in the third-place game of the Mayan Division of the Cancun Challenge.
Morgan State (1-5) heads home with its first victory of the season. Andrew Smith's dunk for Liberty (2-4) with 13 seconds left gave the Flames a 50-49 lead - Peter Moller's 3-pointer at the buzzer was off-target.
Cedric Blossom had 20 points and nine rebounds for the Bears. Zach Smith added nine points and nine rebounds for Morgan State, which managed to win despite shooting 30 percent from the field and a ragged 3-of-24 from 3-point range.
Liberty got 12 points and 13 rebounds from Smith. Tomasz Gielo added 10 points and six rebounds; the Flames had 23 turnovers.
With a mix of accurate shooting and persistent defense, the North Florida men's basketball team maintained the upper hand Tuesday at the Cancun Challenge, moving past Liberty, 77-57.
The Osprey (2-3) will play Elon in the Mayan Division championship game on Wednesday at 3 p.m. CT. Liberty (2-3) faces Morgan State in the Mayan third-place game.
North Florida had a seven-point lead at halftime, 42-35. The Osprey would go on to shoot better than 38 percent from 3-point range while forcing 19 turnovers. North Florida got 20 points from Dallas Moore, 12 points from Demarcus Daniels and 10 points from Jalen Nesbitt. Moore was 4-of-7 from the 3-point line.
Liberty got 10 points each from James Johnson and David Andoh. The Flames were just 12-of-21 from the free-throw line.
A driving layup by Elon guard Luke Eddy with six seconds left Tuesday capped a furious rally at the Cancun Challenge, as the Phoenix stormed back from an 18-point deficit to beat Morgan State, 74-73.
Elon (2-2) will play in the Mayan Division championship game Wednesday at 3:00 CT against the winner between Liberty and North Florida. Morgan State (0-5) plays the loser of that game at 12:30 CT on Wednesday.
The Bears had a 57-39 lead with 14 minutes left in the second half and still held a double-digit edge (68-58) at the 4:16 mark, but problems at the free-throw line were one reason Elon was able to mount a rally. The Phoenix took a 72-71 lead with 50 seconds left; Morgan State went ahead on a falling, scoop-shot layin by Blake Bozeman with 15 seconds to go, and Eddy replied with his layup for the final margin.
Elijah Bryant had 18 points and six rebounds for Elon; Eddy added 12 points and four assists. Bozeman led Morgan State in scoring with 16 points; Kyle Thomas had 15 points and five rebounds. The Bears were just 14-of-23 from the free-throw line.
For the second straight game in the USA-based schedule of the Cancun Challenge, the Northwestern men's team handled stress the best, getting a jumper from Tre Demps to go down with 51 seconds left in overtime Saturday against Elon.
Elon (1-2) had a 61-53 lead in the second half with just under 4 minutes to go, but went scoreless the rest of the way as Northwestern (4-0) resolutely rallied. Again in overtime, the Phoenix took the lead (67-62 on a layup by Elijah Bryant), only to go cold down the stretch. Demps also hit the game-winner Thursday against North Florida.
Northwestern got 21 points and four assists from Demps; Vic Law added 16 points, and Alex Olah chipped in with 12 rebounds. Tanner Samson scored 24 points for Elon, with Bryant coming through with 16 points, six rebounds and four assists.
Geovonie McKnight scored 19 points and added four steals for the Miami (OH) men's basketball team Saturday as the Redhawks topped Liberty, 63-52, in one of the USA-based games of the Cancun Challenge.
Miami (OH) outrebounded the Flames, 37-29. Liberty was paced by Andrew Smith, who had 13 points and seven rebounds.
On Thursday, the Northern Iowa men's basketball team struggled mightily in the first half against Morgan State and didn't get in rhythm until the second half.
The Panthers were much quicker with its solution for North Florida on Saturday in another USA-based game of the Cancun Challenge. With Seth Tuttle scoring 19 points, Northern Iowa rolled to a 66-49 victory at home to move to 4-0 on the season.
The Panthers enjoyed a 33-18 lead at halftime versus the Osprey (1-3), and ended up shooting 11-of-25 from 3-point range and 13-of-14 from the free throw line. North Florida was only 4-of-19 from the 3-point line; its leading scorer was Jalen Nesbitt, who had 15 points.
After underdog Morgan State took a 30-29 lead into the halftime break Thursday, the Northern Iowa men’s team did some reflection on the need to play to its potential.
The Panthers then came out and played 20 minutes they’ll consider more memorable, outscoring the Bears by a 44-23 margin in the second half to post a 73-53 victory at home in one of the USA-based games of the Cancun Challenge.
UNI closed with five players in double figures, with both Deon Mitchell and Paul Jesperson scoring 13 points. The Panthers ended up shooting better than 55 percent from the field while taking just 38 shots – a large chunk of points came from the free-throw line, where UNI was 24-of-34.
Morgan State (0-3)saw Blake Bozeman score 19 points; three other players tallied six points. The Bears outrebound Northern Iowa, 38-33, but went merely 4-of-11 from the free-throw line while shooting just 34 percent.
With two seconds left in the game, Northwestern junior guard Tre Demps put up a contested shot and saw it fall through, which gave the Wildcats a come-from-behind 69-67 victory Thursday against North Florida in one of the US-based games of the Cancun Challenge.
The Ospreys (1-2) had tied the game with a layup from Dallas Moore with 34 seconds left. Moore finished with 18 points and five assists as UNF gave up a six-point lead with about three minutes to go. Chris Davenport added 17 points and four rebounds.
Northwestern (3-0) got 16 points and four assists from Bryant McIntosh; Demps came through with 15 points and five rebounds, and Sanjay Lumpkin chipped in with 13 points and six rebounds.
North Florida shot the ball well at 51 percent overall and had just 12 turnovers, but the Wildcats enjoyed a slight edge in three-pointers, going 10-of-23 overall.
After extending its lead to double digits in the second half Wednesday, Virginia Tech did just enough in the final stretches to top Liberty at home, 73-63, in a game that makes up part of the USA-based schedule for the Cancun Challenge.
Joey van Zegeren had 17 points and nine rebounds for the Hokies (2-0), and three other starters closed in double figures as Virginia Tech shot a healthy 61 percent from the field. Liberty (2-1) was paced by Tomasz Gielo (13 points, three assists, three rebounds, and Ryan Kemrite had 11 points - the Flames were slowed by 21 turnovers and an inability to get to the free-throw line, with just 10 attempts.
The teams are coached by close friends - Liberty coach Dale Layer had Hokies coach Buzz Williams on his staff at Colorado State; Layer later coached on Williams' staff at Marquette.
When the Cancun Challenge makes it official start south of the border, Virginia Tech will play Northern Iowa; Liberty will take on North Florida. All teams will play two games in Mexico.