CANCUN, Mexico (AP) Alex Olah and Vic Law scored 13 points apiece as Northwestern held off Miami (Ohio) 55-46 on Tuesday, advancing to face Northern Iowa in the Cancun Challenge championship game Wednesday.
Northern Iowa knocked off Virginia Tech earlier in the day.
Miami (2-2) trailed much of the second half, but tied it at 40 with 6:12 remaining on a pair of Eric Washington free throws. Northwestern (5-0) then went on a 9-0 run, punctuated by Vic Law's 3-pointer, and held off the game Redhawks.
Both teams started slowly and the game was tied five times in the first half. The Wildcats led 25-24 with 3:14 left, but Scottie Lindsey and Tre Demps drilled 3-pointers to put Northwestern up by six at intermission. Demps finished with 11 points.
Washington led the Redhawks with 12 points, while Logan McLane and Chris Bryant had eight apiece.
Northwestern recovered from a sluggish start to shoot 40 percent from the floor, including 9 of 22 (41 percent) from beyond the arc. Miami shot just 31 percent and 5 of 13 on 3-pointers. Northwestern out-rebounded the Redhawks 37-29 and had 10 blocks, including four by Olah.
Olah's layup broke the 40-all tie with 5:41, then Law blocked Washington's layup attempt. Bryant McIntosh found Olah open again underneath for an easy layup and Sanjay Lumpkin made his only bucket of the night before Law's trey at 3:07 capped the 9-point run.
Washington made a layup and hit 1 of 2 free throws after an intentional foul to cut the deficit back to six, but Demps drilled a 3-pointer with 58 seconds left to ice it.
Northwestern: This was the first time in school history Northwestern played in Mexico and the first time since playing in the San Juan Shootout in Dec. 2006 that the Wildcats played outside of the U.S. Big Ten teams are a combined 12-1 in the Cancun Challenge, with a pair of tournament champions (Illinois, 2011; Wisconsin, 2013).
Miami: The Redhawks are 1-1 against Northwestern all-time. The previous meeting was Dec. 20, 1974, an 89-88 win. That matchup was a neutral-site game at the Sun Carnival in El Paso, Texas. Geovonie McKnight was held to 3 points on 1 of 9 shooting. He had posted double-figure scoring efforts in each of Miami's first three games, the only Redhawk to do so.
Northwestern: Wednesday against Northern Iowa in championship game of Cancun Challenge.
Miami: Wednesday against Virginia Tech in the consolation game.