Todd Johnson scored nine of his 12 points in the final 3:39 to lead Northern Kentucky to a 66-65 victory over USC Upstate Saturday from the Hodge Center.
Tyler White tied the game 55-55 with a three-pointer at the 4:33 mark to start a 12-2 run, as Northern Kentucky built a 65-57 lead with Johnson hitting three 3-pointers during the stretch.
Fred Miller cut the deficit to five points with a layup in the final minute and Ty Greene pulled Upstate within two with a pair of free throws. After free throws from Chad Jackson and Jalen Billups pushed the lead back to five, Greene converted a four-point play to trim the lead to one with 22 seconds.
Marvin Smith intercepted a pass by Anthony Monaco 10 seconds later to give Upstate the final possession, but the Spartans were unable to get off another shot before the buzzer sounded.
Billups shot 7-for-7 from the field and finished with 16 points and eight rebounds off the bench. Tayler Persons added 15 points and Jackson chipped in with 10 points, six rebounds and four assists.
Greene scored a game-high 22 points for his seventh 20-point game of the season. Fred Miller had 16 points and five assists.
Upstate went ahead by nine points midway through the second half before Northern Kentucky used a 14-4 run to take its first lead since the 14:16 mark of the first half. The Spartans scored four straight points to regain the lead before White’s late three-pointer evened the score.
Upstate led by as many as 13 points in the first half and held the Norse to just 10.0 percent (1-for-10) from the three-point line.
Upstate returns to action Thursday at 7 p.m. when the Spartans welcome Florida Gulf Coast to the Hodge Center.