The Tar Heels (3-1) trailed for much of the first half, before making a run that sent them into halftime with a three-point lead.
North Carolina was up 66-62 with just under 4 minutes to play when Richmond’s Terry Allen picked up his fourth foul. Johnson hit a put-back that started the run that gave the Tar Heels control of the game. A Paige 3-pointer made it 71-62 and North Carolina held on down the stretch.
The Tar Heels will play No. 3 Louisville in today’s final.
NO. 3 LOUISVILLE 71, FAIRFIELD 57
In Uncasville, Conn., Chris Jones scored 15 points to lead Louisville (5-0) over Fairfield (1-4) on in the Hall of Fame Tipoff Tournament.
Montrezl Harrell added 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Cardinals (5-0), who extended their winning streak to 21 games, including last season’s run to the NCAA championship.
VIRGINIA 75, LIBERTY 53
In Charlottesville, Va., Anthony Gill scored 13 points and Virginia (4-1) scored 20 consecutive points in the second half to beat Liberty (1-4).
Malcolm Brogdon added 12 points for the Cavaliers, who started the game ranked second nationally in scoring defense at 49.8 points, then limited Liberty to eight points in the first 14 minutes after halftime.
MISSOURI 72, GARDNER-WEBB 63
In Columbia, Mo., Johnathan Williams III grabbed a career-high 17 rebounds and Earnest Ross scored 17 points to lead Missouri (4-0) past Gardner-Webb (2-3).
The Tigers won their 76th consecutive game at home against a nonconference opponent and their 21st in a row overall at Mizzou Arena.
VANDERBILT 75, MORGAN STATE 66
In St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Kyle Fuller made four free throws in the final minute and finished with 16 points as Vanderbilt (3-2) held off Morgan State (0-6) in the Paradise Jam.
Damian Jones scored 13 points for Vanderbilt and Eric McClellan added 12 – all coming from behind the 3-point line. Rod Odom and Luke Kornet added 11 apiece. Vanderbilt grabbed 16 offensive rebounds and shot 45.2 percent for the game.
AUBURN 75, MURRAY STATE 67
In Auburn, Ala., Chris Denson scored 23 points to lead Auburn (3-1) over Murray State (2-3).
After scoring only four points in the first half, Denson shot 6 of 0 from the field after halftime. Transfer guard KT Harrell recorded his first career double-double for Auburn, adding 17 points and 10 rebounds in the win.
SETON HALL 68, VIRGINIA TECH 67
In New York, Fuquan Edwin scored seven of his 18 points in the final 27 seconds to lead Seton Hall (4-2) over Virginia Tech (3-3) in the third-place game of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.
Edwin’s 3-pointer with 27 seconds left gave the Pirates the lead for good at 62-61.