Upstate's Ty Greene hit a 3-pointer and a free throw with 22 seconds left, pulling the Spartans to 66-65, but despite a Marvin Smith steal to get the ball back in the last 12 seconds, SC-Upstate was unable to get off another shot.
In a game with five ties and five lead changes, the Norse (8-10, 2-1 Atlantic Sun) took the lead for good, 58-55, on the first of Johnson's series of late 3-pointers with 3:39 to play. He drained two more to make it 64-57 with just over a minute left.
SC-Upstate (13-6, 2-1) outscored Northern Kentucky 8-2 in the final minute. Greene scored 22 for the Spartans.