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Phoenix outlast RedHawks

Junior guard Geovonie McKinight drives to the lane during Miami's 63-52 win over Liberty University to open the Cancun Challenge. The loss to Elon was the last game of the Challenge.

Photo by Connor Moriarty

By Gav Davis, For The Miami Student

What is a powerful group of starters without its benchmen?

Elon University's starters were helped by its versatile and talented bench Sunday. Elon's bench outscored the RedHawks' 48-22, giving the Phoenix a narrow 70-68 win.

Miami (2-4) entered the game after losing their two previous games of the Cancun Challenge to Northwestern University and Virginia Tech. Elon scored with 0.7 seconds left in the game to squeak by with a win.

Both Miami and Elon played a sloppy first half, shooting a combined 2 for 17 in the first 5:51 of play, along with seven turnovers.

"You know, the first half is what really dug us in a hole early on," junior guard Will Sullivan, who finished with 13 points said. "That was probably the real reason we lost."

Miami was able to keep it close with Elon throughout the majority of the game, but was unable to truly take over and separate itself.

Elon looked to be the team in control heading into halftime, leading 30-26.

Miami, however, remained in contention and played a better brand of basketball in the second half. Junior guard Geovonie McKnight scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half, allowing his team to stay neck and neck with Elon.

Miami grabbed its largest lead, 7 points, with 7:36 left to play. Both teams battled from the charity stripe down the stretch, but Miami failed to make a field goal in the last 4:11 of play. Elon tied the game at 68-68 with 20 seconds to go.

Elon held the ball for the final possession, and Elon sophomore guard Luke Eddy, who had a game-high 22 points, missed the game-winning layup, but senior guard Kevin Blake was there for the put-back to win the game.

"The first half really hurt us and affected us," head coach John Cooper said. "But it didn't just come down to Mr. Blake's big play; we did a lot of things poorly to allow the game to be that close that late."

Miami faces off against the University of Dayton Flyers (4-1) 7 p.m. Wednesday at Millett Hall.