North Carolina holds off St. John’s 61-59 in March Madness

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Deia Kelly hit a three-pointer with 2 seconds left and No. 6 seed North…

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Deja Kelly hit a three-pointer with 2 seconds left and No. 6 seed North Carolina held on for a 61-59 win over No. 11 seed St. John’s in the first round of the tournament. NCAA tournament on Saturday.

The Tar Heels faced their first deficit of the game when Danielle Patterson hit a 3-pointer with 6:39 left.

The Red Storm led for the next four-plus minutes until Paulina Paris was fouled in transition and made the ensuing free throw to tie the game at 54.

Lee tied the score twice in the final minute when Mimi Reed made a layup with 6 seconds left to tie the game at 58.

Kelly drove down the left lane and hit a free throw to complete the game-winning score. Patterson was then fouled after a timeout and sank a 3-pointer with just over a second left to give the Red Storm one last chance.

She missed the first two free throws and then inexplicably made the third, ending any chance the Red Storm had of a tie.

Kelly led North Carolina with 18 points on 7-of-16 shooting, Kennedy Todd-Williams finished with 14 points and Alyssa Astby had 13. The Tar Heels shot 42.1% from the field.

St. John’s started 1 of 14 from the field. The Red Storm trailed 12-3, but Jayla Everett scored five of her team-leading 17 points during a 7-0 run that brought them back late in the first quarter.

Patterson had 13 points and Reed had 10.


St. John’s: The season is winding down for the Red Storm, who are off to their best start in program history under Big East Coach of the Year Joe Tartamella, winning their first 13 games of the season.

North Carolina: The Tar Hills held St. John’s to 38 percent shooting, although the Red Storm shot 57.9 percent in the second half. In North Carolina’s four straight games, opponents have been shooting 41.2% or worse.


North Carolina will play No. 3 Ohio State on Monday.


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